Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

CHAT: Con-country Revisited (was: Re: CHAT: Succumbing to the conlang bug

From:Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>
Date:Friday, November 20, 1998, 20:00
charles wrote:

>On Fri, 20 Nov 1998, Kristian Jensen wrote: > >> The idea of a culture more independant of Asia appeals to me >> because I would be more free to design the this culture. In >> fact, I have written up chapters on Lumanesian prehistory in >> the North Pacific. But the idea of geological realism appeals >> to me too. So I'm at a conflict here. It seems a shame to scrap >> all that I have written in favor of the other scenario that >> wouldn't allow me as much freedom simply because its more >> geologically realistic. > >This is a relatively warm time between glaciations ... >When the ocean was lower 10,000 years ago, many atolls >now submerged could have supported life in the N.P. >As sea level rose inexorably, what would the people do? >
I *DID* think of this, which is why I came up with the idea that would make Lumanesia in the North Pacific more permanent. I posted all this *off-topic* issue on Lumanesia's prehistoric history half a year ago but I'll summerize the North Pacific model below (and I hope nobody objects). As you'll see, the outlines for lumanesia's North Pacific existence is still debatable. If anyone would like to see the Southeast Asian model for Lumanesia's existence, I'll post that too. Lumanesia, together with what is today the Sunda shelf (Malaya, Sumatra, Java and Borneo), broke off from what is today Western Australia in the Middle Jurrasic Period (ca. 180 mill BP). By the early Cretaceous Period (ca. 130 mill yrs BP), this fragment called Sundaland was a long snake-like piece of land in the middle of now extinct Tethys Ocean and in a collision course for the Asian plate. Putting this into perspective, it was at this time that the Indian subcontinent was just beginning to become another island in the Tethys Ocean on a collision course for Asia as well. In the late Cretaceous (ca. 70 mill BP), while Sundaland assimilated into the Asian continent to become insular Southeast Asia, the piece that was to become Lumanesia broke off from Sundaland at this same time and drifted northeast, bringing along with it a collection of plants and animals that have survived since the Jurrasic and Cretaceous periods. As a result, most of the flora and fauna is primitive and largely endemic to the islands. Very few flowering trees and plants have found their way to Lumanesia resulting in a largely gymnospermous rain and monsoon forest vegetation of ferns, cycads, and coniferous trees. All the indigenous mammals are monotremes (ie., egg-laying mammals). Truly a bastion of ancient wildlife. But Lumanesia's isolation was interrupted when the first humans. Evidence of the first human arrivals would be difficult to find. What is certain is that during the last ice age sea levels dropped by more than 100 meters. The archipelago, as it existed then, was one large island with a chain of islands running north to Japan. Using these islands as stepping stones, Japan is the most likely origin of Proto-Lumanesians. When sea levels rose dramatically about 10,000 years ago, these islands and the subsequent first settlements along the coasts would have been obliterated, while early settlements along rivers would have long since been eroded away or smothered in silt as new deltas began to form. But on one Lumanesian Peninsula, massive geological forces have been lifting the coast faster than sea levels have been rising. Evidence of coastal occupation by early settlers has been lifted clear of the sea and has been preserved. Archaeologists have unearthed stone axes 25,000 years old. At that time sea levels were lower than now and the gap to the islands of Japan were much shorter. The distance that Proto-Lumanesians would have had to travel across the sea was still probably no less than 100 kilometers. That was quite a feat so early in human prehistory. But a similar feat presented itself for settlement of the Australasian Continent. In absence of any clues, most archaeologists assume that these early seafarers must have traveled on simple rafts. Putting it in perspective, people did not manage to navigate over shorter stretches of water in the Mediterranean for another 15,000 years, when many of the Greek islands were settled. It remains a mystery as to who exactly these people were. There are no known cultures to have existed in Japan over 25,000 yrs ago. The earliest culture known to thrive in Japan was the Jomon culture, and it existed from 10,000 BC to about 300 BC. Perhaps the ancestors of the Jomon people drove Proto-Lumanesians south. Perhaps these were the same people. Perhaps these were ancient Ainus. This is a mystery not likely to be solved. 10,000 yrs ago, when sea levels began rising again, all human links between Japan and Lumanesia ceased to exist. Primitive rafts were no longer suitable for the larger gaps that were created between Japan and Lumanesia. The Proto-Lumanesians in the islands were truly stranded and separated from any Proto-Lumanesians left in Japan. Only about 4,000 yrs ago was this isolation again interrupted when the first trickle of Austronesians arrived from insular Southeast Asia. They brought along with them the region's first plants suitable for agriculture and the first domesticated animals. This would prove to be a major turning point in the development of the local culture. From nomadic hunter-gathering society to more permanent swidden cultures. Regards, -Kristian- 8-)