Socio-Ecology and the Sacred: A Comparative Study of Historic Natural Sites in Tropical Asia

Author(s): Zankhna Mody

Year: 2017


Within the complex socio-ecological systems of South and Southeast Asia, ancient sacred natural sites were created by and imbued with cultural and ideological values; these were seen as liminal spaces or threshold environments. In this context, sacred natural sites act as transitional landscapes between the human and non-human worlds in ancient and modern times. This sub-project involves examining the roles of sacred natural sites in each of these three early state formations from 800-1400 CE: the Chola (South India), the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) and the Khmer (Cambodia). Several ancient sacred natural sites around the world are active parts of societies today, and the ones chosen for this study span several categories, including sacred mountains, rivers, forests, and caves. Using the paradigms of entanglement theory and resilience theory, this sub-project analyzes the importance of sacred natural sites as socio-ecological integrative mechanisms within a comparative model of the Charter States present in South and Southeast Asia. The results of this trans-disciplinary research can help inform us of the cultural factors and broader practices in the conservation of endangered natural sites and also provide more holistic alternatives to the problems of urban sprawl in the states of our contemporary globalized civilization.

Cite this Record

Socio-Ecology and the Sacred: A Comparative Study of Historic Natural Sites in Tropical Asia. Zankhna Mody. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431281)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 59.678; min lat: 4.916 ; max long: 92.197; max lat: 37.3 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15618