MSc with distinction in Environmental Archaeology
Archaeology and Palaeoecology
School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK
Gave two lectures and two 2hr practical sessions to second year students on pollen identification.
Am also assisting in 4hr practical sessions once a week to 1st years this semester.
Last year I assisted in the pollen practical sessions.
Ethnopalynology and Palynology of the Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo
The island of Borneo is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. The tropical forests provide many useful products, which play an important role in people’s livelihoods by providing food (e.g. bamboo shoots, ferns, many different fruits such as Durian and Sapindaceae) medicine, essential building materials (e.g. rattan and bamboo) and commodities of trade and commerce (Wong and Kamariah, 1999). For thousands of years people have utilised their rainforest environment. The earliest evidence of anthropogenic activity in Sarawak dates back more than 45,000 yrs BP (Barker et al 2002, Hunt et al. 2007). However very little is known about how people manipulated the rainforest in the past, the cultural relationship between people and the rainforest and the beginning of agriculture in Borneo. In the Kelabit highlands the main crop is predominantly rice cultivation, although the rainforest is still relied heavily on for resources and a number of other crops are also grown (Janowski, in Press) . Rice cultivation has been practiced for generations, but apart from the anthropogenic studies carried out by Janowski, Amster (2003) and the work of Tom Harrisson the history of the Kelabit Highlands remains fairly unknown.
The aim of my research is to use of palynology and other environmental indicators to provide a vegetational reconstruction of the Kelabit highlands and as a method of determining possible human alteration and use of the rainforest over time. In particular the research being carried out hopes to address the beginning of rice agriculture and its significance to the people at that time. A number of archaeological sites centred around Pa’Dalih have yielded samples for analysis, together with two cores from a peat bog in Bario, three cores from rice fields in Bario, three cores from rice fields in and around Pa’Dalih and one core from a rice field near to Batu Patong. We are still awaiting some radiocarbon dates, whilst pollen and other microfossil analysis is ongoing. However, preliminary results and radiocarbon dates at Batu Patong suggest anthropogenic activity between 5692 14 C , although more evidence is needed to relate this activity to rice agriculture. Radiocarbon dates from a peat bog in Bario have also produced a vegetational sequence going back 44583 14 C . Also as part of my research with the help of Kit Pearce (a botanist based in Kuching, who has carried out alot of work with the Sarawak herbarium) we collected 253 species of plants from Bario and Pa'Dalih in the Kelabit highlands and a further 33 samples were taken from the Sarawak herbarium in Kuching. These specimens were then taken back to Belfast with permission from the Sarawak Forestry Department and a modern pollen reference collection was prepared. In total around 220 reference slides were made and each species has been photographed and catalogued, whilst duplicate copies wil be sent be sent to the department of Forestry in Sarawak. This reference collection will hopefully make pollen identification from the archaeological record a little easier.
The Cultured Rainforest Project
The Cultured Rainforest Project is a collaboration between the universities of Cambridge, Leicester, Oxford, Queens University Belfast, Leicester and Sussex . It draws on anthropology, archaeology, environmental science, botany and the use of GIS to investigate, compare and store information about the present and past human uses of and relationship with the landscape and the natural environment in the southern part of the Kelabit Highlands, focusing on the upper Kelapang valley.
Jones, S.E. (2008) 'Recreating the natural vegetation and human signature in the Kelabit Highlands' BRC 9th Biennial International Conference 2008, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Janowski, M. Barton, H. & Jones S.E. (In Press) 'Culturing the rainforest: the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak' The Social Life of Forests, University of Chicago
Graeme Barker, Huw Barton, Daniel Britton, Ipoi Datan, Ben Davenport, Monica Janowski, Samantha Jones, Jayl Langub, Lindsay Lloyd-Smith, Borbála Nyíri, and Beth Upex. (2008) (In Press) 'The Cultured Rainforest Project: the first (2007) field season', Sarawak Museum Journal
Graeme Barker, Huw Barton, Efrosyni Boutsikas, Daniel Britton, Ben Davenport, Ian Ewart, Lucy Farr, Rose Ferraby, Chris Gosden, Chris Hunt, Monica Janowski, Samantha Jones, Jayl Langub, Lindsay Lloyd Smith, Borbála Nyíri, Kit Pearce, and Beth Upex (In Press) ' The Cultured Rainforest Project: the second (2008) field season', Sarawak Museum Journal