The invisible plant technology of the prehistoric Philippines
Fiber expertise at Tabon Cave, 39-33 000 years in the past. An inventive view primarily based on the most recent archaeological information. Drawing by Carole Cheval-Artwork’chéograph. Made for the exhibition “Trajectories and Actions of the Philippine Identification” curated by Hermine Xhauflair and Eunice Averion. Scientific advising: Hermine Xhauflair. Credit score: Carole Cheval – Artwork’chéograph, Xhauflair & Averion, CC-BY 4.0 (

Stone instruments bear microscopic proof of historic plant expertise, in line with a examine revealed June 30, 2023 within the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Hermine Xhauflair of the College of the Philippines Diliman and colleagues.

Prehistoric communities probably made intensive use of plant supplies for textiles and cordages, benefiting from the flexibleness and resistance of plant fibers similar to trendy communities do. Nevertheless, plant-based supplies like baskets and ropes are not often preserved within the archaeological document, particularly within the tropics, so prehistoric plant expertise is usually rendered invisible to trendy science. In Southeast Asia, the oldest artifacts fabricated from plant fibers are round 8,000 years previous. On this examine, Xhauflair and colleagues determine oblique proof of a lot older plant expertise.

This proof comes from stone instruments in Tabon Cave, Palawan Philippines relationship way back to 39,000 years previous. These instruments exhibit microscopic harm accrued throughout use. Indigenous communities on this area at this time use instruments to strip vegetation like bamboo and palm, turning inflexible stems into supple fibers for tying or weaving. Researchers experimentally adopted these plant processing strategies and located that this exercise leaves a attribute sample of microscopic harm on stone instruments. This similar sample was recognized on three stone artifacts from Tabon Cave.

Plant fiber processing by members of the Pala’wan group from Brooke’s Level, Philippines. Credit score: Xhauflair et al., PLOS ONE, 2023, (

That is among the many oldest proof of fiber expertise in Southeast Asia, highlighting the technological ability of prehistoric communities going again 39,000 years. This analysis additionally demonstrates a technique for revealing in any other case hidden indicators of prehistoric plant expertise. Additional examine will make clear how historic these strategies are, how widespread they have been previously, and whether or not trendy practices on this area are the results of an uninterrupted custom.

The authors add, “This examine pushes again in time the antiquity of fiber expertise in Southeast Asia. It signifies that the Prehistoric teams who lived at Tabon Cave had the likelihood to make baskets and traps, but in addition ropes that can be utilized to construct homes, sail boats, hunt with bows and make composite objects.”

Extra info:
The invisible plant expertise of Prehistoric Southeast Asia: Oblique proof for basket and cord making at Tabon Cave, Philippines, 39–33,000 years in the past, PLoS ONE (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281415. … journal.pone.0281415

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The invisible plant expertise of the prehistoric Philippines (2023, June 30)
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