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Chinese archaeologists discover 7,300-year-old Austronesian settlements on Pingtan Island

Beijing, Nov 30 (EFE).- Chinese archaeologists have discovered Austronesian people settlements dating back 7,300 years on Pingtan Island in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian.

The findings reveal that the settlements were inhabited by people from a civilization that extended from southern China to Southeast Asia, the official China Daily reported Thursday.

The focal point of this discovery is the Xiying archaeological site, estimated to be between 6,500 and 7,300 years old, according to China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration.

Within this site, researchers found remnants of homes, human bones, stone artifacts, and pottery relics.

Analysis of the unearthed human bones indicates a close genetic connection between the residents of these settlements and other groups of people in southern China and Southeast Asia.

The findings support the theory that Austronesian peoples, now residing in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and other regions, originated in southern China.

“It’s direct evidence for our studies to decode early groups of Austronesian peoples,” said Zhou Zhenyu, a researcher at the Archaeology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Further evidence of Austronesian settlements on the island was discovered at the Keqiutou site dating back 5,000 to 6,500 years ago, and the Donghuaqiu and Guishan sites, which are 3,000 to 4,200 years old.

These discoveries reveal that Austronesian peoples developed a sophisticated civilization on Pingtan Island, encompassing griculture, handicrafts, and the construction of complex structures, including residential areas and spaces for public activities.

“These findings are of great importance for understanding the history and culture of Austronesian people,” said Guan Qiang, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration.

He added that such findings contribute to insights on how Austronesian people utilized maritime resources and spread throughout the world.

The Austronesian people’s maritime migrations, spanning millennia and covering vast distances, probably represent one of the earliest and largest maritime migrations in human history.

According to the National Cultural Heritage Administration, Austronesian migrations began 6,000 years ago and continued until around 1,000 years ago.

In today’s world, about 400 million people speak some 1,200 Austronesian languages. EFEgbm/bks/mcd

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