Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Riddle Of The Jade Jewels Reveals Vast Trade Arena

Date:
January 2, 2008
Source:
Australian National University
Summary:
Analyzing the origins of jade used in ancient jewelery has revealed a trading arena that was active for more than 3,000 years and sprawled over 3,000km in Southeast Asia -- possibly the largest such network discovered in the region to date. Archaeologists used electron probe microanalysis to examine jade earrings excavated from sites all over Southeast Asia, and were able to pinpoint the origin of the precious stone to a source in Taiwan.

Analysing the origins of jade used in ancient jewelery has revealed a trading arena that was active for more than 3,000 years and sprawled over 3,000km in Southeast Asia – possibly the largest such network discovered in the region to date.
Credit: Image courtesy of Australian National University

Analysing the origins of jade used in ancient jewellery has revealed a trading arena that was active for more than 3,000 years and sprawled over 3,000km in Southeast Asia – possibly the largest such network discovered in the region to date.

Related Articles


An international research team led by archaeologists from The Australian National University used electron probe microanalysis to examine jade earrings excavated from sites all over Southeast Asia, and were able to pinpoint the origin of the precious stone to a source in Taiwan.

“People have noted the widespread use of jade in Southeast Asia since the early 20th century, so one of the big questions has been about where the stone was sourced and how it was distributed,” explained research leader Hsiao-Chun Hung, a PhD student in archaeology at ANU.

Archaeologists have long thought that the earrings were made from local jade by Austronesian peoples as they migrated and traded across Southeast Asia – but the researchers have now shown that much of the stone was sourced from Taiwan and then transported in raw form to places like the Philippines, Borneo, central Vietnam and southern Thailand – up to thousands of kilometres by sea from its source.

Team member Dr Yoshiyuki Iizuka from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan used electron probe microanalysis to study the variable chemical composition of raw jade samples from all over Southeast Asia, building up a geographic database of the precious stone. By applying the same technique to the 144 jade artefacts, they found that 116 specimens could be traced back to Eastern Taiwan.

“We know that ancient people elsewhere in the world traded over great distances,” team member Professor Peter Bellwood said. “But this is the first time that such a large trading network has been established in Southeast Asia.”

Ms Hung is studying the migration of Austronesian people throughout the region to Australia’s north between 5,000 and 3,000 years ago. The researchers say their work suggests that Austronesian people, who shared a common language and resembled contemporary Southeast Asians, had a vast, complex system of trade and transportation.

The work was supported by a Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council, and also by the National Geographic Society, and is written up in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Australian National University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Australian National University. "Riddle Of The Jade Jewels Reveals Vast Trade Arena." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080101193937.htm>.
Australian National University. (2008, January 2). Riddle Of The Jade Jewels Reveals Vast Trade Arena. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080101193937.htm
Australian National University. "Riddle Of The Jade Jewels Reveals Vast Trade Arena." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080101193937.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Richard III Saga Ends With Burial And An Eye Roll

Richard III Saga Ends With Burial And An Eye Roll

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Richard III was finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral on Thursday, but not without some controversy over who should get credit for finding him. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Triassic Salamander Acted More Like A Crocodile

Giant Triassic Salamander Acted More Like A Crocodile

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) An ancient crocodile-like salamander more than 10 times the average size of its modern-day counterparts has been discovered in Portugal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Plague-Era Skeletons Bring History Back to Life in London

Plague-Era Skeletons Bring History Back to Life in London

AFP (Mar. 24, 2015) London office workers are coming face-to-face with the hidden history beneath their feet as 3,000 skeletons dating back to the 16th century are dug up to make way for a new railway line. Duration: 01:11 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins