Noel Amano

Noel Amano
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History · Department of Archaeology

PhD Quaternary Science and Prehistory

About

49
Publications
34,477
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Introduction
I’m a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. My primary research is on the zooarchaeology of South and Southeast Asia, focusing on themes of human-animal interactions, human subsistence economy, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, and taphonomy.
Additional affiliations
January 2020 - present
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Position
  • Unit Head
June 2017 - December 2019
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Position
  • PostDoc Position
June 2015 - December 2016

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
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The tropical forests of the Philippine Archipelago are some of the most threatened in the 21st century. Among the most prominent threats are the introduction of new plant and animal species, as well as new forms of land management (e.g. plantations), that have accompanied industrial expansion. Such threats have a potentially long-term history and p...
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Defining the distinctive capacities of Homo sapiens relative to other hominins is a major focus for human evolutionary studies. It has been argued that the procurement of small, difficult-to-catch, agile prey is a hallmark of complex behavior unique to our species; however, most research in this regard has been limited to the last 20,000 years in E...
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Sri Lanka has produced the earliest clear evidence for Homo sapiens fossils in South Asia and research in the region has provided important insights into modern human adaptations and cultural practices during the last ca. 45,000 years. However, in-depth multidisciplinary analyses of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sequences remain limited to just two...
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Nonhuman primates are among the most common taxa represented in Holocene faunal assemblages from Java. In this paper, we examined patterns of Cercopithecidae exploitation, from acquisition through processing, in two cave sites in eastern Java’s Gunung Sewu region: Song Terus and Braholo Cave. Trachypithecus auratus accounts for more than 90% of the...
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Archaeologists contend that it was our aptitude for symbolic, technological, and social behaviors that was central to Homo sapiens rapidly expanding across the majority of Earth’s continents during the Late Pleistocene. This expansion included movement into extreme environments and appears to have resulted in the displacement of numerous archaic hu...
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Land use modelling is increasingly used by archaeologists and palaeoecologists seeking to quantify and compare the changing influence of humans on the environment. In Southeast Asia, the intensification of rice agriculture and the arrival of European colonizers have both been seen as major catalysts for deforestation, soil erosion, and biodiversity...
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Rhinoceroses are among the most endangered mammalian species today. Their past diversity is well documented from the Eocene onward, although their evolutionary history is far from being fully understood. Here, we elucidate the systematic affinities of a Pleistocene rhinoceros species represented by a partial skeleton from 709±68 kya archaeological...
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Climate variability and hominin evolution are inextricably linked. Yet, hypotheses examining the impact of large-scale climate shifts on hominin landscape ecology are often constrained by proxy data coming from off-site lake and ocean cores and temporal offsets between paleoenvironmental and archaeological records. Additionally, landscape response...
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It has been suggested that Iberian arrival in the Americas in 1492 and subsequent dramatic depopulation led to forest regrowth that had global impacts on atmospheric CO2 concentrations and surface temperatures. Despite tropical forests representing the most important terrestrial carbon stock globally, systematic examination of historical afforestat...
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Nijman (2021, this issue) questions the conclusions of our recent paper on non-human primate hunting in Early to Mid-Holocene East Java (Ingicco et al. 2020) on four grounds: 1) there is no evidence that langurs (Trachypithecus auratus) carried a greater ideological importance over macaques (Macaca fascicularis), 2) there is no data to support the...
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The origin and evolution of hominin mortuary practices are topics of intense interest and debate1–3. Human burials dated to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) are exceedingly rare in Africa and unknown in East Africa1–6. Here we describe the partial skeleton of a roughly 2.5- to 3.0-year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 thousand years ago, which was recovere...
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Despite its harsh and arid conditions, the Gobi Desert has played an important role in shaping Holocene populations , including the transition from hunting to herding lifeways. Here we present three newly documented rock art sites in the Gobi-Altai Mountains of south-central Mongolia, a cave (Gazar Agui 1), a rock shelter (Gazar Agui 13) and an ope...
Article
Non-human primates are among the most vulnerable tropical animals to extinction and ~50% of primate species are endangered. Human hunting is considered a major cause of increasingly ‘empty forests’, yet archaeological data remains under-utilised in testing this assertion over the longer-term. Zooarchaeological datasets allow investigation of human...
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The site of Goa Topogaro (Topogaro Caves) on Sulawesi Island in Eastern Indonesia yields numerous osseous and lithic artefacts in association with anatomically modern humans (AMH) from the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Sulawesi is the largest island in Wallacea and could have been located along the early AMH migration routes to Sahul that required...
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The recently described site of Kalinga in the Philippines adds to our understanding of Early-Middle Pleistocene hominin behaviour. Yet, disentangling the natural from the anthropogenic modifications that have taken place in such an old archaeological site is challenging. In this paper we use a set of taphonomic tools at hand to rectify the distorti...
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While the “Movius Line” may no longer represent a valid cultural division between Early and Middle Pleistocene hominins in South and Southeast Asia, it still offers a useful geographical and ecological window into changing processes of colonization by different members of the genus Homo. In this paper, we initially review the palaeoenvironmental an...
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Subsistence adaptations to coastal environments and the capacity to take advantage of mangrove swamps has likely played an important role in the success of the maritime colonization of Southeast Asian and Wallacean islands by modern humans. Yet, ichthyoarchaeological studies remain rare in this part of the world. Bubog I rockshelter (Ilin Island, s...
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Over 60 years ago, stone tools and remains of megafauna were discovered on the Southeast Asian islands of Flores, Sulawesi and Luzon, and a Middle Pleistocene colonization by Homo erectus was initially proposed to have occurred on these islands. However, until the discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2003, claims of the presence of archaic hominins on...
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We explore the relationships among the development of status differentiation, the shift to wet-rice cultivation, and ceramic specialization in the Old Kiyyangan Village (OKV), Ifugao between 900 CE and 1800 CE. Recent archaeological investigations at the OKV have established the intensification of status differentiation associated with the introduc...
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The Ilin cloud rat Crateromys paulus, identified from a single individual in 1981 and collected from an undocumented location in Ilin Island, Mindoro, Philippines, is now considered to be ''data deficient'' and possibly extinct. 96 murid dental fossil remains were recently recovered within a two-meter excavation of well stratified and chronometrica...
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In many parts of Eurasia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia where native wild suids occur it is notoriously difficult to differentiate these from introduced domestic pigs in the prehistoric archaeological record. Yet, correct identification of the initial appearance or introduction of domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) is essential for determining the tim...
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Prehistoric stone tools discovered in Southeast Asia contrast with what is found in the rest of the world: they are simple and their production techniques remained unchanged for millennia. To explain these unique characteristics, some scholars offered what is called the “bamboo hypothesis”: if SE Asian stone tools are simple it would be because the...
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Ethnographic and ethnohistoric sources support the view that the Ifugao (northern Philippines) subsistence system is based on intensive rice agriculture, supported by swidden field and farm raised animals. These sources also suggest that pigs provided the primary protein source of the lfugao. Recent archaeological datasets from Old Kiyyangan Villag...
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The climatic shifts during the Pleistocene–Holocene transition in Island Southeast Asia resulted in dramatic changes in landscape configurations which are presumed to have had greatly impacted vertebrate community composition and in turn human subsistence economies. Zooarcheological investigations in the region have provided information on how anci...
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We examine the southern Vietnamese site of Rach Nui, dated to between 3390 and 3850 cal BP, in the context of threemajor aspects of the Neolithic in Mainland Southeast Asia: mound formation and chronology, construction techniques, and subsistence economy. Results indicate that this ca. 75 m in diameter, 5 m high mound, comprising over a dozen phase...
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Recent discoveries of taxonomically challenging Southeast Asian dwarf hominins from Liang Bua in Indonesia and the Callao Cave in the Philippines have enabled us to investigate the general tendency towards dwarfism or gigan-tism already observed in endemic insular animals. One cur-rent hypothesis suggests that the pygmy human phenotype is the resul...
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The recently discovered human remains from Callao Cave, northern Luzon, Philippines securely date the migration of hominins into the Philippines to ca. 70 kya (thousands of years ago). The direct route to reach Luzon from the Asian mainland is via Borneo, Palawan, through Mindoro and into Luzon. Our research focuses on Mindoro Island as a potential...
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Recent excavations in northern Palawan, Philippines provide zooarchaeological and macrobotanical evidence documenting human occupation and changes in faunal composition and subsistence strategies. Here we present the archaeobiological record of Pasimbahan-Magsanib site dating from c. 10,500 yr. BP to the subrecent. The terrestrial vertebrate record...
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An Son in southern Vietnam is one of a series of Neolithic (food producing) settlement/cemetery sites in Southeast Asia that appear, archaeologically, shortly before and after 2000 cal. bc. Excavations in 2009 produced a small but important assemblage of vertebrate remains that permit relative comparisons with other zooarchaeological assemblages of...
Chapter
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This chapter describes the analysis and interpretation of the terrestrial vertebrate remains from the islands of Itbayat and Sabtang. The results indicate that pigs were present in the islands from the earliest recognised phases of colonization and were the only large mammal resource during the prehistoric period, from at least 1200 BC until after...
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The faunal remains recovered from the Neolithic and Metal Age Nagsabaran shell midden site in Cagayan, Northern Luzon Philippines were analyzed to gain insights into the arrival of managed animal populations, subsistence patterns, and animal processing during the occupation of the site around 2000 cal BC to within the last 1,500 years. Introduced p...
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Between 4500 and 3500 years ago, partially intrusive Neolithic populations in the riverine basins of mainland Southeast Asia began to form mounded settlements and to develop economies based on rice cultivation, fishing, hunting, and the domestication of animals, especially pigs and dogs. A number of these sites have been excavated in recent years a...

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