Nagas settled in the Naga Hills (Nagaland) before 13th Century. On the basis of physical traits and characteristics the Nagas have been classified racially by some scholars as the ‘Indonesian-type’ i.e., the type of people belonging to Malaya and Indonesia. Nagas also have similarities with the people outside the Asiatic mainland such as the Dayaks and Kanyans of Borneo, the Igorots and other group of Philippines and some aborigines of Formosa.
It is generally expected that the Naga race is the result of the coming together of tribes originating in China but the exact route by which the Nagas migrated to their present homeland is not definitely known. However, there are two main theories of migration.
One theory is that the Nagas came with the groups of migrant tribes who moved towards South East Asia from China through the Himalayan Section. This route extended downwards through the Patkkai, Arakan Yoma, and the Banda Arch towards Java and Sumatra. This theory proposes that the Nagas settled in the Naga Hills, while the rest of the tribes continued their journey southwards towards Southeast Asia.
The other theory suggests that the Naga race originated from a group of tribes who moved up from South East Asia. The earliest settlers in South East Asia were food-gathers, hunters and fisherman. In course of time these tribes devised a rudimentary form of cultivation but did not go much future. All Naga tribes are fond of cowries and conch shells which they use as ornaments.
From the above evidence it is clear that whatever their origins were and the routes they followed, the Nagas entered the present Nagaland in successive group through Myanmar.