The Prizewinner 2021
|Name||Dr. Peter Bellwood|
|Born on||August 10, 1943|
|Nationality||British and Australian|
Australian National University
Reason for Awarding
Dr. Peter Bellwood is a distinguished archaeologist whose main research theme has been human life in Oceania and Southeast Asia during the Neolithic Age. From a global perspective, he has explored how farming spread—closely correlating with human migrations—through intercontinental comparative analysis as to the advent of farming and the migration and dispersal processes of early farmers. His major achievements can be summarized into the following three aspects.
Firstly, using archaeological methodologies, Dr. Bellwood clarified the process by which Polynesian culture was formed; the Lapita culture (1,500–1,000 BC) that emerged in the Melanesian islands moved eastwards and changed to adapt to the diverse environments of these islands, which resulted in the formation of Polynesian culture. He has also traced the migration tracks of the Austronesian language family (a large group of various peoples in Taiwan, the Southeast Asian Archipelago and the Pacific islands who speak Austronesian languages), taking an interdisciplinary approach based on joint research with specialists in archaeology, anthropology, linguistics and other scientific disciplines. By integrating these research findings, Dr. Bellwood elucidated that, in the case of Austronesians, fueled by the development of maritime skills, human dispersals had a close connection with the migrations and expansions of early food-producing populations.
Secondly, Dr. Bellwood carried out interregional comparative studies regarding the origins and spread of farming on a global basis. By reproducing the conditions of agricultural dispersals in various regions worldwide in an interdisciplinary manner, he succeeded in making global comparisons of the early farming expansion process in the prehistoric period. He considers that farming dispersal was accompanied by human migrations, and that languages also spread along with human migrations. Based on this idea, he came up with a method of investigating farming dispersal in conjunction with the spread of language families. In other words, Dr. Bellwood showed that the relationship between the expansions of food-producing populations and language families could be applied not only to the Austronesian speaking peoples but also to many other major language families around the world. He advanced the “early farming dispersal hypothesis,” which postulates that human population movements were intimately correlated with farming and language dispersals.
Thirdly, Dr. Bellwood conducted research into the process of human adaptation to island environments. Beginning from Homo erectus, which reached Java approximately 1.3 million years ago, to Homo floresiensis and down to Homo sapiens, humans have migrated also to island regions and adapted themselves to the new environments there. Drawing on archaeological and paleoanthropological examples primarily from Southeast Asian islands, he illustrated the biological and cultural processes of human adaptation to island environments, from an interdisciplinary perspective. Moreover, he made reference to the migration of Homo sapiens 50,000 years ago before the beginning of agriculture, as well as the spread of Austronesian peoples and languages from southern China.
As mentioned above, albeit starting from archaeological research into the formation of Polynesian culture, Dr. Bellwood put forward the “early farming dispersal hypothesis,” which is closely associated with linguistic studies. In so doing, he has examined the correlation of human population migrations with farming dispersals from a global viewpoint, as part of his work to illuminate the relationship between nature and humankind.
In the field of global environmental studies, scientists consider that along with the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to farming societies, human settlements increased and populations grew, and motivated by a reliance on domesticated plants such as wheat and rice, human beings transformed vast areas of natural vegetation into croplands, thereby having a significant impact on the global environment. Consequently, we have witnessed, for instance, phenomena where closer contact between human society and wildlife has given rise to new infections. Amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, we have reached a new turning point regarding the way of looking at the relationship between nature and humans. In this context, we have recognized that Dr. Peter Bellwood has accomplished important research achievements that provide us with a foundation for reflecting on the “Harmonious Coexistence between Nature and Humankind,” the principle upheld by the International Cosmos Prize.
|1966||B.A. University of Cambridge (King’s College)|
|1969||M.A. University of Cambridge||1980||Ph.D. University of Cambridge|
|1967-1972||Lecturer in Prehistory, University of Auckland, New Zealand.|
|1973-1975||Lecturer in Prehistory, Australian National University.|
|1976-1983||Senior Lecturer in Prehistory, Australian National University.|
|1984-1999||Reader in Archaeology, Australian National University.|
|2000-2006||Professor of Archaeology, Level E1, Australian National University.|
|2007-2013||Professor of Archaeology, Level E2, School of Archaeology and Anthropology,
Australian National University (retired to Emeritus status in September 2013)
|2013-now||Emeritus Professor, Australian National University|
1. Bellwood, Peter S. 1978 The Polynesians, London, Thames and Hudson.
2. Bellwood, Peter S 1978 Man’s Conquest of the Pacific, Auckland and London, Collins, North American edition,
Oxford University, Press.
3. Bellwood, Peter S. 1985. Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago. Academic Press., Sydney.
4. Bellwood, Peter S. 2005 First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies, Oxford Blackwell.
5. Bellwood, Peter S. ed. 2013 First Migrants: Ancient Migration in Global Perspective. Chichester, Boston and
Oxford, Wiley Blackwell.
6. Bellwood, Peter S. 2017. First Islanders: Prehistory and Human Migration in Island Southeast Asia. Chichester,
Boston and Oxford, Wiley Blackwell.
7. Bellwood, Peter S. ed., 2019, The Spice Islands in Prehistory: Archaeology in the Northern Moluccas, Indonesia,
ANU Press, Canberra.