Inferring Human Activities From the Late Pleistocene to Holocene in Topogaro 2, Central Sulawesi Through Use-Wear Analysis

Document Type


Publication Date



Recent excavations in Topogaro 2 Cave, Central Sulawesi produced an archaeological sequence beginning c. 29 ka. The site is located along the eastern coast of Sulawesi, a key location for prehistoric movements from mainland Southeast Asia to Sahul through Wallacea during the Late Pleistocene. In this paper, we test our hypothesis that prehistoric activities associated with hunter-gatherers can be identified through the study of microscopic traces on stone tools and their functions. We report on the use-wear analysis on lithic tools from the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. Our results indicate that a variety of activities were conducted at the site throughout its occupation. While most of the artefacts with use-wear traces were unmodified flakes typical for this region, a number of retouched tools provided indication of specialised functions and certain traits of modern behaviour such as the possible use of hafted projectile implements. Plant processing, an activity associated with the development of tool assemblages from Island Southeast Asia supporting the ‘Bamboo Hypothesis’, was also identified. The results contribute to our understanding of technology and behaviour in the Late Pleistocene in Wallacea, an important geographical region to discuss island adaptation and human migrations.