Asian Perspectives

Asian Perspectives 39.1-2, Spring-Fall 2000



    O'Reilly, Dougald J. W.
  • From the Bronze Age to the Iron Age in Thailand: Applying the Heterarchical Approach
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bronze age -- Thailand.
    • Iron age -- Thailand.
    • Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Thailand.
    • Social structure -- Thailand.
      The archaeological evidence of social groups in Thailand has long been noted for not conforming to the standard paradigms of social organization. This paper investigates the concept of heterarchy before turning to consider current conceptions of the Bronze and Iron Ages in Thailand. New evidence from a recently excavated site, Ban Lum Khao, is considered and evaluated in the context of the existing knowledge of the period. The current understanding of the Iron Age is also evaluated and enhanced through the incorporation of data from two sites in northeast Thailand, Non Muang Kao and Noen U-Loke. The paper concludes that the data from prehistoric Thailand are better interpreted from a heterarchical perspective. The possible causative factors of stratified social organization are considered from a heterarchical perspective, examining ceramic production, mortuary practice, demography, and environment.
      Heterarchy, archaeology, Thailand, Bronze Age, Iron Age, hierarchy
    Albrecht, Gerd.
    Haidle, Miriam Noël.
    Chhor Sivleng.
    Heang Leang Hong.
    Heng Sophady.
    Heng Than.
    Mao Someaphyvath.
    Sirik Kada.
    Som Sophal.
    Thuy Chanthourn.
    Vin Laychour.
  • Circular Earthwork Krek 52/62: Recent Research on the Prehistory of Cambodia
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    Subject Headings:
    • Earthworks (Archaeology) -- Cambodia -- Kâmpóng Cham (Province)
    • Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Cambodia -- Kâmpóng Cham (Province)
      Since 1996 research on circular earthworks in the red soil region of eastern Cambodia and adjacent Vietnam has intensified. Several as yet undocumented Mimotien sites have broadened the knowledge about the regional distribution, location, and the layout of this site group. Within the scope of a German teaching program at the Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, intensive fieldwork at Krek 52/62 and soundings at Phoum Beng, Phoum Kampoan, and the Groslier site yielded more detailed information on the function and the dating of circular earthworks. Typically, the structures are situated on the top of a slight slope and are composed of an outer wall, an inner trench, and an inner central platform lower than the surrounding surface. The rampart could not be used as a water storage system. The elevation at the edge of the inner plateau can no longer be interpreted as intentional construction, but now is explained as the accumulation of an occupational layer. The circular earthworks possess one or two entrances that are constructed either as simple pathways or as complicated bridged systems. Both the profile of the sites (a steep inner side of the outer wall and a shallow inner ditch) and the absence of artifacts usable as weapons argue against the former interpretation as fortifications. Rather, the artifact assemblages of the sites supply evidence for villages of rice farmers. Fragments of lithophones belong to the archaeological assemblages of two circular earthworks. The dating of the sites to the Neolithic is questioned. First attempts of radiocarbon dating of the organic temper of the pottery did not yield clear results. However, a glass bracelet fragment found in situ well within the occupational layer of Krek 52/62 gives evidence for the first millennium B.C. date.
      Cambodia, red soil region, circular earthworks, Mimotien, early glass, lithophones.
    Goebel, Ted.
    Waters, Michael R.
    Meshcherin, Mikhail N.
  • Masterov Kliuch and the Early Upper Palaeolithic of the Transbaikal, Siberia
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    Subject Headings:
    • Masterov Kliuch Site (Russia)
    • Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Russia -- Transbaikalia.
    • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Russia -- Transbaikalia.
    • Paleolithic period -- Russia -- Transbaikalia.
      In 1996, archaeological excavations were conducted at the Masterov Kliuch site, located east of Lake Baikal, Siberia. Three archaeological components were uncovered, all occurring in colluvial deposits. The two lower components (I and II) are Palaeolithic in age and character. Component I is an early Upper Palaeolithic industry dated to 32,500-30,000 years ago (B.P.), and is in a primary context. Component II is undated but is also assignable to the early Upper Palaeolithic based on typology, although it appears to have been redeposited. Artifact assemblages from these two components are blade-based and include retouched blades and flakes, knives, denticulates, end scrapers, gravers, and burins. Component III represents a Bronze Age occupation dated to around 2900 B.P. The Palaeolithic industries at Masterov Kliuch are technologically/typologically similar to other initial Upper Palaeolithic industries in Siberia, and appear to represent some of the easternmost manifestations of an early Upper Palaeolithic technocomplex that spanned inner Asia from Uzbekistan to the Transbaikal between about 42,000 and 30,000 B.P. Our findings have further implications for Upper Palaeolithic research in northern Asia, especially regarding site formation processes and hunter-gatherer raw material procurement. First, like Masterov Kliuch, most early Upper Palaeolithic sites across northern Asia lie in colluvial settings and may not be in pristine, primary contexts, so that interpretations of stone features such as hearths or dwellings may be suspect. Second, study of the Masterov Kliuch lithic industries indicates that huntergatherers exclusively utilized local lithic resources in the manufacture of tools, and that raw material procurement strategies were embedded within other subsistence pursuits. This pattern of local, embedded raw material procurement is seen in virtually all other early Upper Palaeolithic sites in Siberia, while "logistical," longdistance procurement strategies, characteristic of the early Upper Palaeolithic of western Eurasia, did not appear in Siberia until much later in time, after about 25,000 B.P.
      Siberia, early Upper Palaeolithic, geoarchaeology, lithic technology, raw material procurement.
    Bulbeck, David.
    Pasqua, Monique.
    Di Lello, Adrian.
  • Culture History of the Toalean of South Sulawesi, Indonesia
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    Subject Headings:
    • Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Indonesia -- Sulawesi Selatan.
    • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Indonesia -- Sulawesi Selatan.
    • Stone implements -- Indonesia -- Sulawesi Selatan.
      This paper reviews the current evidence on typologically specialized tools assigned to the Toalean tradition of the southwest Sulawesi peninsula. Bone points and a range of stone points appeared across the peninsula in the early Holocene; this probably occurred as part of the expansion of archery and improved spear technology in Island Southeast Asia at the time. The technologically most specialized Toalean tools, namely backed microliths and Maros points, were evidently confined to the southwest of the peninsula. Backed microliths occur in contexts spanning some six millennia, but Maros points were largely restricted to the immediately preceramic period, approximately 5500 to 3500 B.P. The distribution of these tool types closely matches the area where late Holocene pottery in the ornate "Sa Huynh-Kalanay" tradition has been recorded, and where Makasar languages are spoken today. Sulawesi's southwest peninsula may have effectively been an island throughout much of the Holocene, and its southwest fringe runs hard against a major cordillera. Thus, physiographic constraints laid the basis for the division of the peninsula into two "social landscapes" that display long-term continuity throughout the Holocene, notwithstanding fundamental changes in subsistence patterns and technology.
      Toalean, South Sulawesi, Makasar, microliths.
    Summerhayes, Glenn, 1954-
  • Far Western, Western, and Eastern Lapita: A Re-Evaluation
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    Subject Headings:
    • Lapita culture.
    • Pottery, Prehistoric -- Papua New Guinea -- New Britain Island.
    • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Papua New Guinea -- New Britain Island.
      Lapita assemblages from the western Pacific have been regionalized into stylistic boundaries or provinces, known as Far Western, Western, and Eastern, and it has been thought that differences between them are partly temporal (Far Western) and mainly a result of isolation after the initial colonization of the area (Western versus Eastern). This paper assesses these constructions by comparing dentate decorated Lapita pottery from assemblages in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea, with assemblages further afield. It is argued here that differences between these style provinces are primarily due to temporal factors and that the terms Far Western, Western, and Eastern should be replaced by Early, Middle, and Late Lapita.
      Lapita, West New Britain, Melanesian archaeology, pottery.
    Taomia, Julie M. E.
  • Household Units in the Analysis of Prehistoric Social Complexity, Cook Islands
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    Subject Headings:
    • Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Cook Islands.
    • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Cook Islands.
    • Households -- Cook Islands.
    • Social structure -- Cook Islands.
      Polynesian and other Oceanic societies have often informed research into social complexity. McGuire (1983) has proposed a means of measuring complexity that does not assume any particular organizational form. The examination of prehistoric household remains allows archaeologists to compare common units of social organization across societies for more meaningful comparisons of past social organization. This paper discusses house remains excavated on three islands in the Southern Cook Islands of central Polynesia for the information they provide about past social organization on the islands and provides comparison between three closely related island societies.
      Southern Cook Islands, households, complexity, social organization.
    Tuggle, H. David.
    Spriggs, Matthew.
  • The Age of the Bellows Dune Site O18, O'ahu, Hawai'i, and the Antiquity of Hawai'ian Colonization
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bellows Dune Site (Hawaii)
    • Oahu (Hawaii) -- Antiquities.
    • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Hawaii -- Oahu.
      The Bellows Dune site was excavated more than three decades ago (Pearson et al. 1971), and has been generally considered one of the earliest settlement sites in the Hawaiian cultural sequence. More than ten years later, in the now-classic summary of Hawaiian archaeology, Kirch (1985) considered it to be one of only two sites firmly identified as belonging to the Colonization phase in Hawai'i. This status has remained largely intact. Working independently, the authors of the present article found problems with the interpretations of the dating of this site. Combining our efforts and reviewing the general debate over the timing of human colonization of the Hawaiian archipelago, we suggest that the oft-quoted early dates for the Bellows site are in error, and that a site-based argument for pre-A.D. 800 settlement of Hawai'i is approaching a case list of zero. The most supportable conclusion is that of the two main layers at O18, the lower one (L. III) pre-dates A.D. 1000, and the upper one (L.II) post-dates A.D. 1000. The Bellows Dune site dating is deconstructed, dates from Bellows that have not been published are presented, the Bellows dates are placed in the context of new information from other sources on the date of Hawaiian colonization, and a new hypothesis for the age of the Bellows Dune site is proposed.
      Bellows Dune, early settlement, Hawaiian chronology.

Book Reviews

    White, J. Peter (John Peter), 1937-
  • On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands before European Contact (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kirch, Patrick Vinton. On the road of the winds: an archaeological history of the Pacific islands before European contact.
    • Prehistoric peoples -- Oceania.
    Longacre, William A., 1937-
  • Raiding, Trading, and Feasting: The Political Economy of Philippine Chiefdoms (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Junker, Laura Lee, 1958- Raiding, trading, and feasting: the political economy of Philippine chiefdoms.
    • Chiefdoms -- Philippines -- History.
    Allen, Harry.
  • The Riches of Ancient Australia: An Indispensable Guide for Exploring Prehistoric Australia (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Flood, Josephine. Riches of ancient Australia: an indispensable guide for exploring prehistoric Australia.
    • Historic sites -- Australia -- Guidebooks.
    Aikens, C. Melvin.
  • Ruins of Identity: Ethnogenesis in the Japanese Islands (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hudson, Mark, 1963- Ruins of identity: ethnogenesis in the Japanese Islands.
    • Ethnology -- Japan.
    Lycett, Mark.
  • Prehistory of the Chitrakot Falls, Central India (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cooper, Zarine. Prehistory of the Chitrakot Falls, Central India.
    • Mesolithic period -- India -- Chitrakot Falls.
    Mudar, Karen.
  • The Excavation of Nong Nor, a Prehistoric Site in Central Thailand (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Higham, Charles, ed. Excavation of Nong Nor, a prehistoric site in central Thailand.
    • Rachanie Thosarat, ed.
    • Nong Nor Site (Thailand)
    Salomon, Richard, 1948-
  • Indus Age: The Writing System (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Possehl, Gregory L. Indus Age: the writing system.
    • Indus script.
    Solheim, Wilhelm G.
  • The Most Offending Soul Alive: Tom Harrisson and His Remarkable Life (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Heimann, Judith M. Most offending soul alive: Tom Harrisson and his remarkable life.
    • Harrisson, Tom, 1911-1976.

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