Recent Advances in the Settlement and Landscape Archaeology of Southwest China and Southeast Asia Part I: The Macro Perspective: Spatial Analysis and Subsistence Systems

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Since the beginnings of archaeological research in Southwest China and Southeast Asia, the focus has largely been on burial material. Whereas the burial customs, personal decoration, and weapon and tool assemblages that accompanied the deceased are by now fairly well known, the world of the living is far less well explored. During the last few years, however, there has been increasing interest in the settlement archaeology of the region, ranging from smaller-scale investigations of sites, to a broader landscape approach. A considerable number of field projects throughout Southwest China and Southeast Asia have greatly advanced our understanding of the daily lives of prehistoric and early historic inhabitants of the area. This session assembles papers that introduce some of the results of these research projects, providing an overview of our current knowledge in this field and pointing out new avenues of research. The first part of the session takes on the macro perspective of large-scale spatial analysis and long-term developments.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Archaeobotany in Southeast Asia: What have we learned so far (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cristina Castillo.

    Archaeobotany as a specialisation in Southeast Asia began in the late 1960s. Archaeobotanical methods (e.g. flotation, phytolith and pollen sampling) are still not routinely used in archaeological fieldwork in SEA, although in the past ten years, archaeobotany has gained momentum. For example, several sites in Thailand (Ban Non Wat, Khao Sam Kaeo, Khao Sek, Non Ban Jak, Phu Khao Thong), Vietnam (Lo Gach, Loch Giang, Rach Nui) and Cambodia (Ta Phrom) have included archaeobotanical analyses as...

  • Early Subsistence Practices at Prehistoric Dadunzi in Yuanmou, Yunnan: New Evidence for the Origins of Early Agriculture in Southwest China (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hetian Jin. Xu Liu. Rui Min. Xiaorui Li. Xiaohong Wu.

    In 2010, flotation work was carried out at the site of Dadunzi in the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Zone. A number of crops were recovered from this work including: foxtail millet, broomcorn millet and rice, as well as weeds originating from both fields and the natural environment. The results of the flotation show that at 4000 BP, that the Yuanmou site had already entered a phase of agricultural production and the majority of the diet of the inhabitants of this site came from these three crops....

  • The Environmental History of Settlement at Co Loa, Vietnam: A Preliminary Pollen Sequence (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tegan McGillivray. Nam Kim.

    Co Loa is a 600ha Iron Age settlement located in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. Recent excavations of the three earthen ramparts at Co Loa are illuminating the processes of site construction begun during the Dongson cultural period (600 BC-AD 200). The scale and organization of these efforts reflect a highly centralized and institutionalized authority; however, little is known about the nature of settlement and urban form. Using preliminary palynological data from cores and...

  • Environmental Preconditions and Human Response: Subsistence Practices at Prehistoric Settlement Sites in the Liangshan Area, Southwest China (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anke Hein.

    The Liangshan Area in Southwest Sichuan is known for its great diversity both in geographic layout and ethnic composition. It is furthermore characterized by a highly diverse archaeological assemblage, whose date and cultural affiliation is in large parts still unclear. To solve this problem, in recent years archaeological fieldwork has focused on settlement sites, whose stratigraphy promises to aid in establishing a local chronology and furthermore provides insight into the daily life of past...

  • Evaluating the Sustainability of an Angkor-Period Engineered Landscape at Koh Ker, Cambodia (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Klassen. Damian Evans. Terry Lustig. Barry le Plastrier. Eileen Lustig.

    Several studies have argued that the collapse of an unsustainable hydraulic network was a major factor in the abandonment of medieval Angkor (~9th to 15th centuries AD) as the capital of the Khmer civilisation. However, Angkor presents us with a great deal of uncertainty due to the spatial and temporal complexity of the archaeological remains. The Angkor-period city of Koh Ker, in contrast, provides the opportunity to study a medieval water management system whose structure and functioning can...

  • Grounding an underground survey: Paddy fields and monumental Bronze Age shell-scapes in the Dian Basin, Yunnan, China (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alice Yao. Zhilong Jiang.

    Regions under paddy cultivation often present limits on site detection. In addition to deep plowing and continuous flooding of the fields, which intensify erosion and weathering of cultural remains, paddy fields are constructed and managed through field leveling and canal dredging. These processes raze and displace sites, leaving behind a fragmentary settlement record consisting primarily of sites defined by raised mounds and/or standing architecture. Oft used survey techniques that seek to...

  • Hydraulic Nodes of Empire - Redux: Evaluating the role of artificial water tanks as indicators of territorial control in Cambodia’s medieval landscape (6th to 15th c. CE) (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mitch Hendrickson.

    Elaborate water management systems in the form canals, bridges and massive reservoirs (baray) are a defining characteristic of medieval Khmer occupation across their former territories in mainland SE Asia. Beyond the cities, hydraulic control is further manifest in the widespread distribution of smaller water tanks (trapeang) visible across Cambodia and southern Laos. Found variously in association with temples, road infrastructure and settlement mounds these reservoirs represent a key data set...

  • "Reconstructing" an archaeological landscape of NW Cambodia beyond the borders of the Greater Angkor using satellite imaging. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kasper Jan Hanus. Emilia Smagur.

    Prehistoric and historic societies have established the material dimension of space through either the physical alteration of the landscape or the formalised recognition of space. Although the latter aspect is rather difficult to trace archaeologically through the use of aerial images, physical modifications of the landscape are often still visible. The northern part of Tonle Sap basin were subjected to intensive survey using satellite imaging in order to identify anthropogenic adjustments on...

  • Sites, survey, and ceramics: a GIS-based approach to modeling early prehistoric settlement patterns in the Upper Mun River Valley, Northeast Thailand (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Caitlin Evans.

    Recently, a series of intensive pedestrian surveys were conducted in the Upper Mun River Valley, northeast Thailand to examine prehistoric and historic settlement patterns at an intermediate scale. This paper will focus on the early prehistoric (1650 – 420 BC) finds, in particular evidence of Neolithic (1650 – 1050 BC) occupation. Our results indicate that during the early prehistoric period, site density was unexpectedly high, but settlement integration was weak; site sizes varied greatly and...

  • Societies and environmental transformations in early modern Yunnan: A spatial analysis of written sources and oral histories (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nanny Kim.

    This paper uses geographic visualization to analyse possibilities and limitations of historical sources and fieldwork in studying changes in settlement patters and environmental change in Yunnan province. Local gazetteers are an important source on local conditions. It reflects the perspective of the administration on to some extent that of the Han-Chinese elite, and creates a written and rewritten local tradition. Mapping the zones of attention and the information provided in this type of...