HOPE Report No.25, 18th, January 2005.

Program No.25 (Joint research)

Hitomi Hongo : Instructor, Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University

Place of visit: University of Tubingen
(Also University of Munich, and Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology)

Title of research: Zooarchaeological study of faunal remains from Sakai Cave, Southern Thailand

Period of visit: 24 November- 23 December, 2004

The Mani is nomadic hunter-gatherers who inhabit in the forest in southern Thailand and northern Malaysia. The Mani hunters specialize in hunting of arboreal animals using blowpipe. Their traditional life, however, has been threatened by deforestation and by the Thai government policy of settling down the nomadic minority groups. The animal bone remains stored at the Prehistory Department of University of Tubingen were collected during a series of ethnoarchaeological campaign of Sakai Cave in Trang Province, southern Thailand in the 1990s. Although layers belonging to the Neolithic and pre-Neolithic occupations were also discovered, most of the animal bones discovered at the site were relatively recent (up to 100 years old). Thus the animal bone remains provide us with information on traditional Mani hunting practice that is being lost in recent years.

The preliminary result of analysis suggests that the main games hunted are primates (mainly langurs and gibbons, also some macaques). These primate bones were recorded, measured when possible, and photographed. Primate bones amount to about 80 % of the total animal bone remains, and both adults and infants are hunted. Giant squirrel, flying lemur, hog badger, and various species of civets are also hunted. Hornbill bones are often encountered among bird species. Bones of turtles, lizards, and freshwater fish are also abundant. A characteristic butchery practice is observed: Both epiphyses of long bones are cut off probably to extract the bone marrow.

Animal bones

More info about the Mani