Applying a Life History Framework to Analyzing Metal Age Metal Assemblages from Thailand

Author(s): Joyce White; Elizabeth Hamilton

Year: 2017


Application of archaeometric techniques to metals and related evidence from prehistoric sites in Southeast Asia is in its infancy. One result is that sample sizes per site have in most cases been minute or even unspecified, although in rare instances, such as Ban Chiang, sample sizes for metallographic and elemental analyses have been more robust and representative. Small sample sizes obscure key evidence for intrasite and regional variability in technological and economic systems. Recent lead isotope analyses of copper-base artifacts from Thailand and Laos illustrate the potential for fine-grained study of metals assemblages, revealing that different sites had separate supply networks for copper at different periods of time. If our field is to contribute meaningfully toward the study of material culture in past economies and the reconstruction of technological systems in terms of chaînes opératoires, the field must raise the bar in terms of many sampling issues. Not only are larger samples required for plausible reconstructions, but complete assemblages must be assessed, not just a handful of idiosyncratically selected intact artifacts from single context types (usually graves).

Cite this Record

Applying a Life History Framework to Analyzing Metal Age Metal Assemblages from Thailand. Joyce White, Elizabeth Hamilton. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430998)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14394