Individual, Family, Site, 'Community' or Region? - Thinking Across Spatial and Social Scale in Prehistoric Laos and Thailand
Author(s): Nigel Chang
This is an abstract from the "Paradigms Shift: New Interpretations in Mainland Southeast Asian Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Prehistory is made up of individuals and families going about their daily lives. Surely, no one in NE Thailand 3000 years ago was thinking deeply about how to craft a ‘state’ from small semi-agricultural villages. However, it can also be argued that large scale social and technological change and Asia-wide population movement were driving a shift towards the ‘rise of the state’. How do we reconcile these different scales of analysis? Is this simply a clash of philosophies that contrast an emphasis on individual agency with ‘processual’ law building? Can new insights be developed by working across scales (and between philosophies)?
This paper focuses on two areas of intensive archaeological research; the Upper Mun River Valley (UMRV), NE Thailand and the Vilabouly Complex, Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR. In each area individuals can be identified in grave contexts and both areas are tied to significant regional innovations; metallurgy in Laos & intensive agriculture in Thailand. Crucially, a number of related sites have been investigated in each area allowing us to consider ‘local cultures’. Is it this intermediate social and spatial scale that will be the key to integrating, rather than polarising, our analyses?
Cite this Record
Individual, Family, Site, 'Community' or Region? - Thinking Across Spatial and Social Scale in Prehistoric Laos and Thailand. Nigel Chang. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452136)
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min long: 92.549; min lat: -11.351 ; max long: 141.328; max lat: 27.372 ;
Abstract Id(s): 23619