Bulbeck, Francis David
The present thesis details the historical archaeology, or
more accurately the archaeological history, of the Makassar
kingdoms of Gowa and Tallok, South Sulawesi. Close study of
the archaeological record provided strong support for the
literal truth of the origin stories of these kingdoms as
stated in their chronicles. Gowa appears to have originated
as a near-coastal, agrarian kingdom in the 13th-14th
centuries. A succession dispute in Gowa, possibly as a
reflection of crowding in...[Show more] Gowa's heartland, apparently led to
the establishment of Tallok on a major inlet at c.1500.
Gowa's subsequent expansion during the 16th century
depended on securing the small port-polity of Garassik which
later became the major entrepöt in eastern Indonesia,
Makassar. Gowa's southward expansion was at the expense of
Polombangkeng (the area's largest polity before Gowa's rise).
Much of this densely populated land remained under
theoretically autonomous rule throughout. The two kingdoms
absorbed by Gowa - Tallok and Maros - re-emerged alongside
Gowa as powerful kin-based factions in the 17th century
confederated state here called "greater Gowa".
Makassar in its heyday harboured up to 100,000 people,
while two to three times that number would have inhabited the
adjacent coastal plain. The organisation of the Makassar
aristocracy into hierarchically ordered "status lineages"
underpinned the state's administration of its territories and
functional bodies. These circumstances allowed greater Gowa
to protect traders who defied the Dutch attempt to monopolise
the Moluccan spice trade, and concurrently to consolidate
suzerainty throughout the South Sulawesi lowlands. In 1667
the Dutch naval forces combined with greater Gowa's Bugis
enemies in their successful occupation of Makassar. Bone, the
largest Bugis kingdom, emerged as the apex in the re-ordered
local political hierarchy, while the Dutch superintended
Makassar's international trade.
In view of Gowa's original status as an agrarian kingdom,
and population densities on the Gowa plain which may have
reached towards 1000 people per km2, previous interpretations of Makassar (Gowa) as a port-polity require modification.
Rather, greater Gowa was the most spectacular example of a
recurrent theme in Bugis-Makassar early history - expansion
by an agrarian power to capture a critical enterpöt. The
pattern can be traced back to c.1300 when the Bugis kingdom
of West Soppeng ruled the port of Suppak some 50 km away.
South Sulawesi's only major kingdom not based on extensive
wet rice lands, Luwuk, apparently relied on its
inaccessabi1ity, and direct support from Javanese traders
aligned with Majapahit, for its brief period of prominence
during the 15th century.
Moreover, the initial steps towards the development of
complex South Sulawesi societies appear to have occurred in
the Bugis agrarian heartland, far away from the places cited
in contemporary foreign accounts or the peninsula's most
spectacular archaeological finds. Hence the perspective from
South Sulawesi challenges the reliability of these sources in
reconstructing the development of early states in the western
archipelago. The current emphasis on long-distance trade and
traders' influences needs to be understood in the context of
coeval settlement patterns, whose detection should be treated
as a top priority of archaeological work in the western
archipelago. "Indianisation" as a concept of social change
should be reinterpreted as a case of Austronesian
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