Investigating Integrative Mechanisms Among Early Tropical States

Author(s): Kendall Hills

Year: 2016


Early archaeological discourse depicts tropical environments as unsuitable loci for the emergence of the world’s “great” civilizations. Scholars now know this to be demonstrably untrue, as evidence of early complex societies with state level organization has been identified in tropical environments throughout the world. Like their counterparts of the more arid zones, amalgamation and increased integration would have been of great importance to early tropical states. In general, states seek to increase economic, socio-political, and ideological integration, which is simultaneously achieved through both vertical power relationships of inequality, and horizontal group affiliation. This paper explores early tropical state use of integrative mechanism, archaeologically expressed in the form of monumental public structures and spaces of the anthropogenic landscape. Informed through case studies from the latter part of the “Charter Era” (CE-800-1400) in South and Southeast Asia, this analysis explores an avenue for comparative studies of integrative mechanisms of early tropical states. Monumentality emerges as a dominant integrative mechanism, and provides an interesting stage for exploring integration from a dialectic perspective between state power and localized identity.

Cite this Record

Investigating Integrative Mechanisms Among Early Tropical States. Kendall Hills. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403367)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;