For one of the final blog posts for this class I decided to report on something I like to consider “living” archeology. In early February I found an article with the title “Stone Age Tribe Kills Fisherman Who Strayed onto Island”, this article had been published in “The Telegraph” and was written by Peter Foster. The unfortunate fishermen were working in the Andarman Islands when their boat became stranded on the nearby North Sentinel Island sometime during the night. This island is home to one of the last Pre-Neolithic tribes known, the Sentinelese. This tribe has managed to survive many different natural calamities, the most recent being the 2004 Tsunami, and is estimated to have between 50-200 members. However due to their extremely aggressive behavior, researchers have been unable to spend time studying this “living fossil” in order to better understand how they have been able to survive without any contact with the modern world. It has been reported that the tribe will fire arrows and spears at any vessel that passes too close to the island.
Through DNA analysis of another nearby tribe, the Jarawa, Scientists have been able to hypothesize that the Sentinelese tribe was formed from the descendants of a group that migrated to the area from Africa roughly 60,000 years ago. This existence of a group of people living without any technological advances or contact with the outside world got me to thinking about other groups living in remote areas around the world. I would imagine that this is not an isolated phenomenon and hope that educated professionals such as archeologists, anthropologists, and scientists will eventually be able to study these groups more closely. I think that it would provide some valuable evidence either in support or against the many archeological inferences, regarding the Pre-Neolithic era, that could not be physically verified or observed since the civilization disappeared many years ago. I think another interesting point can be made regarding the survival of some of these ancient groups, specifically that the traditions and different methods of survival they have been using obviously allow for them to survive and flourish over an extremely long period of time. If an ancient “stone age” civilization can survive on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean I would venture to say that there have to be many others, perhaps on tiny islands that have remained unnoticed by today’s humans. Hopefully one day we will be able to successfully communicate with some these groups and help preserve the vast amount of knowledge regarding their mysterious past.
Link to the article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/1509987/Stone-Age-tribe-kills-fishermen-who-strayed-on-to-island.html