Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network

Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network

The Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) is a concept put forward by anthropologist Wilhelm Solheim as part of his theory of how Austronesians and the Austronesian languages spread in the Asia-Pacific region.

The NMTCN theory is an alternative to the widely accepted “Out of Taiwan” theory by Peter Bellwood, which also attempts to explain how the Philippines came to be populated. Unlike the “Out of Taiwan” model, this theory aims to explain the spread of people during this time by looking closely at their cultural traits, rather than by focusing on languages a Bellwood has.

Solheim argues that the NMTCN better explains the diffusion of cultural traits around the Asia-Pacific region than any other theory, with the pattern for this spread not being matched by other projections that offer a more simplistic explanation.

Solheim argues that the spread of Austronesians throughout the Asia-Pacific region would have been primarily in a single direction if it had been the result of migration alone. However, cultural diffusion around the region actually demonstrates significant spread, suggesting it may have moved as part of some sort of trading network.

According to Solheim, who introduced the concept in 1964, the NMTCN would have first appeared in around 5,000 BC during the Neolithic period. The concept of the NMTCN is based on the movement of “the Nunsantao”, who were defined by Solheim as people who made up the maritime-oriented trade network but spoke a variety of languages including pre-Austronesian and non-Austronesian languages.

This maritime network, according to Solheim, provides an explanation for the spread of Austronesians throughout Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. However, Solheim does suggest that the maritime network could stretch as far back as 30,000 BC, as indicated by the discovery of potentially related artefacts from this time in countries including the Philippines, Vietnam, China,Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

MLA Citation/Reference

"Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network". 2023. Web.