Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Land of Gold

In addition to the spice trade, Southeast Asia became associated with precious metals especially gold at an early date.

Indeed, a major discovery in the area of metal technology was made at Ban Chiang in Thailand which has produced the earliest radiocarbon dates for bronze technology. These dates have been the focus of much dispute. Recently a socketed bronze adze from the Balobok Rockshelter shellfish gathering culture in the Philippines was dated to 5,140 years ago.

The early date would help confirm the Ban Chiang dates and also suggest long-range trade as tin, a component of the bronze alloy, is not readily available in this region.

There are two other important indicators of early metal technology in this area, the discovery of a brass needle at Musang Cave in the Philippines dated to 4,000 years ago, and the distribution of the tumbaga word for a gold-copper alloy.

The word tumbaga and related forms appear in Central and South America also for an alloy of gold and copper. It was once thought that these words had traveled over from the Philippines during the Spanish galleon trade. However, archaeological evidence now clearly shows that metal technology including the smelting of tumbaga predates European contact (see Prof. Dorothy Hosler's site). In fact, the earliest metal working may go back 3,000 years ago.

Words for gold and other metals have been reconstructed for the languages of this region:

*lujang "brass" PAN Dempwolff
*luyaN "brass" PAN Lopez
*timah "tin" PAN Dempwolff
*bulaw "gold" PAN Dyen
*bulaw-an "gold" PAN Streseman
*hemas "gold" PAN Lopez
*bari "metal" PAN Blust

PAN = Proto-Austronesian

The ancient Indians knew Southeast Asia as the Gold Land or the Gold Islands. The ancient Greeks had the same terminology. The texts are a bit ambigious but there is some suggestion that Dilmun was a source of gold and silver. The ships coming from Dilmun were also said to have carried tin although it is not specificed exactly where this metal came from.

In latter Biblical and Phoenician literature, we hear of long trade journeys that lasted three years and brought back gold, silver, tin and lead among other products of tropical nature. These trade missions started from the port of Ezion-geber on the Red Sea. According to the historian Josephus, the destinations of these voyages was Southeast Asia, the Land of Gold.

The Phoenician writer Sanchuniathon tends to confirm this when he states that the Phoenicians sailed across the Erythraen Sea during these trade voyages.

The mention of tin is important because this metal was very rare in the ancient world. The known sources in Central and West Asia and in Europe are not nearly sufficient to have supplied the tin used during the Bronze Age.

The greatest source of tin in the world is Southeast Asia specifically Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Tin here is derived from alluvial deposits as was most ancient world tin. This metal also occurs naturally here with copper, thus offering a convenient situation for the discovery of the bronze alloy.

The Bronze Age in China also relied on Southeast Asian sources of tin from Yunnan and possibly from further south.

Thus, the Nusantao trade may well have supplied the tin necessary for the bronze age. It is also possible that bronze technology was an invention of Daic peoples from Thailand and was carried by Nusantao seafarers to other locations.

Then there is evidence suggesting the transfer of tumbaga and at a late date possibly brass technology.

Large amounts of gold and silver were brought from Southeast Asia helping provide the capital that created empires of wealth in different regions of the world.

The wealth and technology also had its negative consequences. The dragon from the sea had brought with it the ingredients for wars of conquest and greed.

May the mountain overpower you!
May the mountain hold you back!
May the mountain conquer you!
May the mountain frighten you!
May the mountain shake you to the core!
May the mountain hold you in check!
May the mountain subject you!
May the mountain cover you!
May the mighty mountain fall on you,
May you be held back from my body!

-- The Conjuration of Mt. Mashu

Paul Kekai Manansala


Mog said...

*lujang "brass" PAN Dempwolff
*luyaN "brass" PAN Lopez
*timah "tin" PAN Dempwolff

Actually quite a bit is fitting into place. The same habits of the Sulu people, the Tau Sug, very similar to Phoenician style settlements.

An alchemy (though more anciently likely alchemy and yin / yang, bird/serpent(dragon) symbolism predates metallurgy, i.e. African secret societies, Native American warrior etc). Basic wisdom of alchemy in fact likely originated with women, in having to struggle with mood swings of menses, finding the "middle" in extremes.

But here lays a convincing argument, from Nusantao to Phoenician (South Indian haplo J2, Arab haplo J1, NW Semitic J2, North African E3a?) and carried to Southern Britain (tin).

*lujang "brass" PAN Dempwolff
*luyaN "brass" PAN Lopez

Quite possibly we've found origin of LUGH of the SILVER HAND...

The contemporary compilation of etymological lexica at the universities of Leiden and Wales[11][12] suggests an alternative etymology for lloer, from Common Celtic *lus-rā, where the root would be cognate with that of Latin luridus [earlier *lus-idus] "pale yellow"). Another possibility is Proto-Indo-European *leug- meaning blackness, dimness, darkness (thought by Pokorny to be the root of the ill-attested Gaulish word lugos ‘raven’), or *leug- ‘swamp, peat-bog’. Proto-Celtic *Lug-u-s may equally be related to Proto-Celtic *lug- meaning "oath, pledging, assurance" on the one hand and "deceive" on the other (derived from Proto-Indo-European *leugh- ‘avowal, deception’). Juliette Wood interprets his name as deriving from Proto-Celtic *lug-, oath, which would support this identification of Mercury as a god of contracts.

The name may also be related to Old Irish lug "lynx", perhaps indicating the existence of a Proto-Celtic root that denoted an animal with "shining eyes", from PIE *leuk- "to shine" (compare Greek lunx "lynx", perhaps from a zero-grade form *luk- with infixed nasal).

Or even the Maui like trickster, LOKI

Lugh's father was Cian ("Distance") of the Tuatha Dé Danann and his mother was Ethniu (Eithne/Enya), daughter of Balor, of the Fomorians. Enya/Ain/Ainu/black Annis/Hina?

There may be further triplism associated with his birth. His father, Cian, is usually mentioned together with his brothers Cú ("hound") and Cethen, who nonetheless have no stories of their own, and two characters called Lugaid, a popular medieval Irish name thought to derive from Lugh, have three fathers: Lugaid Riab nDerg (Lughiadh of the Red Speckles) was the son of the three Findemna or fair triplets, and Lugaid mac Con Roí was also known as mac Trí Con, "son of three hounds". Notably, in Ireland's other great "sequestered maiden" story, the tragedy of Deirdre, the king's intended is carried off by three brothers, who are hunters with hounds. The canine imagery continues with another Lugaid, Lugaid mac Con, and of course Lugh's son Cúchulainn ("Culann's Hound"). In some stories Cian was able to transform into a dog.

So in fact the Nusantao possibly kicked this off, with assistance of South Indian trade networks (Toda in India are 47% Haplogroup J2, possible "origin" group?) and Phoenicians.

And separately, back to Laghu, Lagu, Laghutantra (which just means "abridged tantra" no mystical meaning), Laghu or Lagu in Carnatic South Indian music, is a term based on "hand" clapping (Tala, or Thala) and finger counting to keep track of beats bars. Of course one is familiar that gypsies and Spaniards still do this clapping, and I think North Africans too, but in rudimentary form.

Lagu/Laghu IS A kind of numbering or dualistic partition, just as a "Loch" is a body of water separated from sea, or Lagoon is too. Beautiful still water. Lakh (means 10,000 in India) and Laksamana means sea admiral in Indo-Malay. Likely origin of "LAKE".

But back to my "musing" very interesting that "LUGH"'s foster mother is TAILTU, and to me this is a striking corollary to Carnatic music or TALA, which is hand clapping.

And of course TARA the Polynesian sea goddess (of great expanse) and related TAN-TRA (continuum).

Of course all of the Druids "Tree Alphabet" was done pneumonically on fingers and we must not forget Moses - Aaron and Sons, Kohanim blessing, which is called


Thala, or Thalum lessons