The Co Loa Settlement: Biography of an Anomalous Place

Author(s): Nam Kim

Year: 2017


In the archaeological study of ancient large-scale settlements, there is considerable debate regarding definitional criteria for categories of "city" and "urban". New field studies from different world areas have enriched our understanding of the variability of past settlement configurations along dimensions of utility, meaning, space, scale, and demography. In northern Vietnam, the remains of monumental constructions of the prehistoric settlement of Co Loa still stand today. Dating to the first millennium BCE and encompassing some 600 hectares in size, this settlement was unprecedented in Southeast Asia. Recent field investigations have provided new insights for this large-scale and relatively anomalous settlement, one exhibiting signs of highly centralized political power and a dispersed, low-density form of ancient large-scale settlement. This paper offers an overview of the settlement, illustrating several local-historical and regional trends in order to provide a context for the early story of Co Loa and its occurrence. The case offers a glimpse into alternative pathways for trajectories of settlement development, both in Southeast Asia and worldwide.

Cite this Record

The Co Loa Settlement: Biography of an Anomalous Place. Nam Kim. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430824)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14418