Refugees who practised ritual tooth ablation brought rice cultivation techniques as they dispersed to Taiwan and Japan

As a followup to our last post entitled Ritual tooth ablation: Why did prehistoric peoples pull out perfectly good teeth?, we would like to add this excerpt on “The Dispersal of Teeth Extraction” which is pulled from Yoshinori Yasuda’s “Water Civilization: From Yangtze to Khmer Civilizations“, pp. 59-62. It reveals who the people who practised ritual tooth ablation people were, why they dispersed and how they brought rice cultivation with them when they dispersed to Taiwan and Japanese archipelago.

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The Dispersal of Teeth Extraction

The period of climate deterioration* that began at 3500 cal. yr BO and climaxed at 3200 cal. yr BP triggered the massive ethnic migration in the Mediterranean. It also was a time in which similar large-scale migrations swept through East Asia. During this climate deterioration period, the wheat/barley/millet-cultivating pastoral people again started their southward invasion, plunging China into the tumultuous Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods. It also was during this period that waves of refugees moved into Yunnan and Guizhou Provinces, and even headed downstream along the Mekong, Hong Ha, and Irrawaddy rivers into Southeast Asia. Recent analysis of the Y-chromosome indicated that these invaded people slotted to characteristic Y-chromosomal 03e haplogroups# (Sakitani 2003, 2009). Refugees, however, had the Y-chromosomal 02a or 02b haplotypes.]

Thus widespread dispersal of rice cultivation in Southeast Asia did not take place until the onset of climate deterioration at 4200 cal. yr BP.

As with the refugees who fled to the Yunnan, Guizhou and Fujian Provinces and across the sea to Taiwan and the Japanese archipelago, the people who fled into Southeast Asia adhered to the practice of ritual teeth extraction (Fig. 2.11), Matsushita and Matsushita (2011) clearly were able to confirm the teeth extraction practice from human skeletal samples unearthed during the 2007 excavation at the Phum Snay site in Cambodia (see Chap 6). The people who conquested from the north and west during the climate deterioration events at 42300 ca. yr BP and they had been wheat/barley/millet-cultivating pastoral people on horse back who bred sheep and goats and cultivated wheat and foxtail millet. They did not practice the ritual teeth extraction and seem to have the prototype-M8a mtDNA haplogroup and Y-chromosome O3e haplogroup, which typify the present Han people, as pointed out by Shinoda (2007) and Sakitani (2009). In contrast, the peripheral people who were forced to flee from their homeland into the Yunnan and Guizhou Provinces and into the mountainous regions of the Fujian Province, and then eventually across to the Taiwan and Japanese archipelago as boat people or down the Mekong or Hong Ha rivers into southeast Asia, were rice-cultivating piscatory people who adhered to the practice of teeth extraction.

The migration of people from north to south in Neolithic Asia also identified by Higham (1996, 2002) and Bellwood (2004, 2006) was mainly based on linguistic studies…Recent studies using DNA, physical anthropological, environmental archaeological, and lead isotope ratio analyses also point to the migration of the Asian people from north to south. In this chapter, I describe how this southward movement of Asian people that took place at 4200 cal. yr. BP, triggered by climate deterioration. The rice- cultivating piscatory people expanded as refugees to East and Southeast Asia with their various customs and cultural values.

In addition to the movement of people from southern China, results of lead isotope ratio analysis of bronze artifacts by No et al. (2011) seem to indicate the possibility that the people who migrated down the Mekong and those who traveled down the Hong Ha into Vietnam had different ancestries.
A group of boat people who may bear a resemblance to those who lived in the ancient times are those who now lie on the floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. Originally, these people came from Vietnam. Now they live on wooden boats and bamboo rafts on which various facilities for everyday life are erected–pigpens, hen houses, and even soccer fields (Fig. 2.12). The boats are moored in the lake during the dry season and are moved inland as the waters rise during the wet season. Such may have been the lifestyle of the people who introduced rice cultivation to Japan–a migrating community living on wooden boats with bamboo rafts tied to them, complete with pigpens and fishing wells. Although researchers are inclined to maintain the preconceived idea that the transportation of pigs and fowl would require large vessels, a setup like the one described would have been sufficient for crossing the East China Sea with livestock. The expansion of rice-cultivating piscatory people and the direction of their migration is summarized in Fig. 2.13″

*p. 54 “Nearly a millennium after the climate deterioration at 4200 cal. yr BP there was another episode of climate deterioration at 3200 cal, yr BP that had a critical impact on rice dispersal. The period of severe cold in 4200-4000 cal. yr. BP was followed by a period of slight climate amelioration in 4000-3500 cal. yr BP. However, again the climate changed for the worse from 3500 cal. yr BP and a period of severe cold was reached at 3200 cal . yr BP.
Sakaguchi (1984) and Yasuda (2003) point out, as well as numerous researchers conducting palynological studies, that 3200 cal. yr BP, the final Jomon period in Japan, corresponds to a cold period. According to the pollen diagram of the Karakemi Marsh in Nagano prefecture (Sakaguchi 1986), an abrupt increase in Abies, Picea, Pinus parviflora and Pinuspumila, and Tsuga are observed at the horizon corresponding to approximately 3300 cal yr BP, which clearly indicates the onset of climate deterioration Sakaguchi (1989) also has performed a more detailed reconstruction of the paleoclimate based on the results of pollen analusis of the Ozegahara moor , which also supports the trend of climate deterioration during this period. According to Sakaguchi’s temperature variation curve drawn using P. pumila pollen revealed an onset of dramatic climate changes at 3500 cal. yr BP.”

(The authors also find Cambodian pottery artifacts that resemble closely the hajiki blackware pottery found in Japan)


# A word about the origins of the O3e people:

A study on oesaphageal cancer occurring in O3 an O3e populations sheds light on the origins of the O3e people, see Huang H, Su M, Li X, Li H, Tian D, et al. (2010) Y-Chromosome Evidence for Common Ancestry of Three Chinese Populations with a High Risk of Esophageal Cancer. PLoS ONE 5(6): e11118. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011118:

High rates of esophageal cancer (EC) are found in people of the Henan Taihang Mountain, Fujian Minnan, and Chaoshan regions of China. Although these regions are geographically distant, we hypothesized that EC high-risk populations in these three areas could share a common ancestry. What is that ancestry?

The Chaoshan Population, Fujian Population and Henan Taihang Mountain Population are more closely related to Chinese Hans than to minorities, except Manchu Chinese, and are descendants of Sino-Tibetans, not Baiyues.

The predominant haplogroups in these three populations are O3*, O3e*, and O3e1, with no significant difference between the populations in the frequency of these genotypes. Frequency distribution and principal component analysis revealed that the Chaoshan Province is closely related to the Henan Taihang Mountain Population and Fujian Province, even though the former is geographically nearer to other populations (Guangfu and Hakka clans).

Correlation analysis, hierarchical clustering analysis, and phylogenetic analysis (neighbor-joining tree) all support close genetic relatedness among the Chaoshan People, Fujian People and Henan Taihang Mountain People. The network for haplogroup O3 (including O3*, O3e* and O3e1) showed that the Henan Taihang Mountain People have highest STR haplotype diversity, suggesting that the Henan Taihang Mountain people may be a progenitor population for the Chaoshan People and Fujian People.

Historical records describe great waves of populations migrating from north-central China (the Henan – marked red in the photo below, and Shanxi Hans) through coastal Fujian Province to the Chaoshan plain.



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