East of Wallace's Line: an introduction

O'Connor, Sue, and Veth, Peter (2000) East of Wallace's Line: an introduction. In: O'Connor, S., and Veth, P., (eds.) East of Wallace's Line: Studies of past and present maritime cultures of the Indo-Pacific region. Modern Quaternary Research in Southeast Asia, 16 . AA Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands, pp. 1-11.

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[Extract] This volume owes its inception to a symposium we convened on Magnetic Island in northern Queensland, Australia in 1997. It takes its title from Alfred Russell Wallace whose voyage through the Malay Archipelago (see Fig. 1) resulted in the recognition of the zoogeographic divide, running between Lombok and Bali; Borneo and Sulawesi, now known as Wallace's Line.

'I have arrived at the conclusion that we can draw a line among the islands, which shall so divide them that one-half shall truly belong to Asia, while the other shall no less certainly be allied to Australia. I term these respectively the Indo-Malayan, and the Austro-Malayan divisions of the Archipelago.'(Wallace 1869: 21; see Fig. 1)

While this line defined for Wallace two natural provinces that had evolved during a long history of separation and isolation, he recognized that it did not apply to the human occupants of the region. 'The reason why exactly the same line does not limit both is sufficiently intelligible. Man has means of transversing the sea which animals do not possess'(Wallace 1869: 30). Wallace inferred that 'maritime enterprise' had allowed people to travel between islands carrying with them their genes, language, cultural traits, domestic animals and crops.

The papers in East of Wallace's Line deal with all facets of what Wallace (1869: 30) called 'maritime enterprise' - exploration, colonization, economy and subsistence. All papers focus on the regions of Island Southeast Asia known as Wallacea, Australia and New Guinea (Sahu!), Island Melanesia, and ultimately the colonization of the Pacific and Remote Oceania. In this part of the world maritime adaptations were, and are, essential to the process of colonization, human impacts on ecosystems, population viability on small islands, communication and trade. While the specific faunal distributions that prompted Wallace to draw his original line are not relevant to the papers here, the general issues of island biogeography and zoogeographic distributions play a significant part in the long term sustainability of occupation in many of these small islands following colonization.

Item ID: 14275
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-90-5809-319-6
Keywords: maritime archaeology
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2017 00:07
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210110 Maritime Archaeology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 100%
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