A fascinating and unexpected byproduct of this research has been a dramatic revision of the pre-sixteenth century political geography of the peninsula. In the Bugis epic I La Galigo, South Sulawesi is dominated by two major powers: Luwuq and Cina. While the location of Luwuq is well-known, the kingdom of Cina seems to have vanished around 1500 leaving little trace of its former importance. Prior to this research, only the locations of its palace sites were known. By examining the marriages of the rulers of Cina and their offspring with those of surrounding settlements, Caldwell and Wellen have been able to reconstruct the territories of this once dominant kingdom.
This new geography, which is confirmed by reference to the marriages of other royal elites during the sixteenth century, solves a number of important anomalies in the early history of South Sulawesi. It offers a new understanding of early state formation in South Sulawesi and a valuable map for further archaeological research.
Ian Caldwell is Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Leeds. He is currently working with Kathryn Wellen (KITLV) on a study of the genealogies of the west coast Bugis-speaking kingdoms between circa 1300-1600.
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