Accepted Paper:

Sedentism and technological variables among hunter-gatherers of the Malay Peninsula  


Aya Kawai (Chiba University)

Paper short abstract:

A correlation between sedentism of hunter-gatherers and the technological variable related to food storage has been argued. This presentation reports other kinds of technological variables among Bateq people, who are hunter-gatherers and traders of forest products in the Malay Peninsula.

Paper long abstract:

Studies of hunter-gatherers have argued a correlation between sedentism and the technological variable related to food storage. Research on Kalahari hunter-gatherers has shown that groups of men traveled long distances to hunt large amounts of meat for prolonged consumption. Increasing dependence on food storage and change in labor structure occur with mobility reduction. However, some hunter-gathers reduce their mobility without enhancing reliance on food storage. This presentation examines sedentism and technological changes from a case study of nomadic, hunter-gather of the Malay Peninsula.

About 200 persons who speak Bateq language live in the Kuala Koh reserve settled by the Malaysian government. It is located near an oil palm plantation and the Taman Negara National Park. They obtain food by hunting, gathering, and purchasing from stores or peddlers. The largest animal hunted during the research period was a leaf monkey, and it was consumed in two days. They trade forest products, and men often travel far from the reservation with a trader's car, and camp to collect forest products. During this period, women stay in the reserve with their children.

However, they also make family camps in the forest. The settlement becomes uninhabited after the end of rainy season and during the fruit season. The ratio of hunted or gathered food to the purchased food of their diet changes with their place of residence. The adoption of mobile phones to call traders and peddlers, and the new transportation options, are associated with sedentism.

Panel P038
Sedentarization and concentration among nomadic peoples (Commission on Nomadic Peoples/NME panel)