Lecture starts 7.30 pm
(Due to venue regulations only soft drinks maybe served)
HK$100 RGS HK Members HK$150 Non members
Professor Barry Rolett speaks on "China's Ancient Seafaring". In this lecture, Professor Rolett recounts the results of his research into China's earliest seafaring achievements, principally from Fujian and Guangdong provinces, from 5,000 years ago onwards.
China's earliest seafaring began on the southeast coast within today's provinces of Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong. The first two-way voyages across the Taiwan Strait were achieved five thousand years ago, following a long developmental period of coastal navigation. This marked the advent of China's "seafaring millennium". Over the next thousand years, early seafarers from Fujian colonized Taiwan, transferred Neolithic technology, culture and lifestyle from the mainland, and established commodity-based trade in the Taiwan Strait.
The crossing of the Taiwan Strait marked the beginning of a long series of migrations across the Pacific, some of which were related to the developments in Chinese seafaring, others developed independently by other cultures. The leaders of this Pacific seafaring were the Austronesians, the greatest seafarers of the Neolithic world. Descendants of the early Austronesians include the modern peoples of all of island Southeast Asia, Polynesia, Micronesia and much of Melanesia, constituting some 25 countries.
Professor Rolett also speaks in this lecture about his ongoing research, in collaboration with Chinese colleagues, investigating the origins of this seafaring tradition. Professor Rolett and his colleagues are examining environmental change, especially in relation to sea-level, as a stimulus for the Neolithic era emergence of seafaring.
Professor Barry Rolett is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii. He is a specialist in the archaeology of Polynesia and southeast China. Professor Rolett received his doctorate from Yale University, became a visiting professor at Harvard University and then joined the University of Hawaii in 1989. His field experience includes 15 archaeological expeditions to the Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia) and five field projects in southeast China, principally in Fujian and the Penghu Islands, to study Neolithic seafaring and the ancestral origins of the Polynesians. In 2001, he initiated the first Sino-American collaboration for archaeological research in Fujian. Since then, he has continued to develop new projects and collaborations with archaeologists at the Fujian Provincial Museum and other museums and universities in China.