|15 June 2017
Bamboo raft to explore 30,000-year-old sea route
A traditional bamboo raft was recently launched in Taimali in Taitung County, Taiwan, as part of a Taiwan-Japan project to explore a sea route between Taiwan and Okinawa which may have been traveled 30,000 years ago.
Rowers from Taiwan and Japan used paddles made in Yonaguni, Okinawa Prefecture, to test the Amis-style raft in waters off Taiwan's east coast. They plan to cross the Kuroshio Current and the 33 kilometres to Green Island in June, and then on to Yonaguni, 110 kilometres east of Taiwan. Archeologists will study whether humans traveled between Taiwan and Okinawa on similar vessels in the Palaeolithic period.
The Amis are the largest of sixteen recognised indigenous peoples of Taiwan - primarily fisherman, and traditionally matrilineal, with relatively large villages of 500 to 1,000 inhabitants.
Lee Yu-fen, director of the Taiwanese museum, said Taiwan has been a hub for migration in East Asia since ancient times, and the voyage will help scholars revisit how humans could have moved around. According to Japanese archaeologists, the early inhabitants of Japan tens of thousands of years ago most likely traveled from eastern Siberia to Hokkaido, from the Korean Peninsula to Kyushu and Honshu, and from Taiwan to the Ryukyu Islands.
Stone tools found in Taitung's Changbin Township indicate a human presence there about 50,000 to 5,000 years ago in the late Paleolithic. Lin says that since no human remains were found in Changbin, it is difficult to determine if the inhabitants made any sea voyages.
Edited from Publicnow.com (6 June 2017), Wikipedia
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