Dr. Michael Kolb - May 2003

The Prehistory of Southeast Asia

I. Major Issues in Southeast Asian Archaeology

a. Tool Industries
Why were the early tools crude choppers and flakes?

b. Domestication of Rice
Where was it domesticated? Highlands or Lowlands?

c. Rise of Civilizations
What characteristics of civilization developed before Indian and Chinese contact?
What aspects of Indian and Chinese civilization were adopted?

II. PLEISTOCENE - hominids, fauna, tool traditions, some key sites

a. Early Stone Age - First humans: Java Man and Peking Man

b. Middle Stone Age - Pebble chopper tradition: PACITAN CAVE

c. Late Stone Age - Flake tools: Solo Man(?), NIAH CAVE, TABON CAVE

Early dispersion of humans into Southeast Asia
Early tool traditions where easy-to-make pebble choppers and flake tools were used

III. HOABINHIAN CULTURE - early hunter-gatherers of the interior

a. Widspread archaeological complex- from southern China to northern Sumatra

b. End of the Ice Age

c. Highland cave sites such as HOAB BINH, SPIRIT CAVE

Diviersified hunting and gathering
Evidence for bamboo tools: explains the crude nature of choppers and flakes

IV. EARLY AGRICULTURE - Where was rice domesticated?

a. In the highlands where it grows wild? NON NOK THA

b. Or in the coastal swamps? KOK PHANOM DI

early rice chaff is in the highlands
first domesticted rice kernel is on the coast
early rice chaff is in the highlands
first domesticted rice kernel is on the coast

V. EMERGING CIVILIZATION - Five regions of political development

a. Red River DONGSON - Red River region and its hinterland

b. Inland Highlands - BAN CHIANG, ONG BAH

c. Coastal Vietnam - SA HUYNH - precursor to Cham

d. Bali Cave sites

e. Philippines TABON CAVE

The introduction of iron and bronze from India and China
Dongson Drums - bronze technology used for local ritual
Extensive trade of Dongson drums, metal, and Indian trade beads
Moated settlements for defense (BAN CHIANG, ONG BAH, SA HUYNH)
Soul boat burials in Island SEA

VI. EARLY MANDALAS - Larger political formation

a. Red River - BAC BO

b. Lower Mekong Delta - FUNAN

c. Middle Mekong River - ZHENLA

d. Chao Phraya Plains in Thailand - DVARAVATI

e. Norther Thai Mun and Chu Valleys - BANG CHIANG HAIN

f. Coastal Vietnam - CHAM

g. Burma - PYU

h. Sumatra or Malaya - SHIVI JAYA

Development of intensive irrigation agriculture
Greater generated wealth - Larger-scale trade, exchange, and war
Rise of elites controlling idelogical power - linking the spirt world and wealth
Introduction of Indian language, laws, and architecture
The Vedas, Laws of Manu, Hindu gods of Siva and Visnu, Buddha, and the Pali language

VII. States and Empires - complex civilization

a. Classic Khmer Society - ANGKOR

b. Java Society - BOROBODOUR

c. Philippine Chiefdoms

Rise of Royalty and kingship
25 Varman kings of the Khmer
Urban life
Large-scale monuments
Trade empires

VIII. Timeline

1,500,000 years ago -- Java Man extent of human exploration (MOJOKERTO, Java)

800,000 ya -- CHOKOTIEN - Peking Man

250,000 ya -- Tampanian Flakes on mainland (SARAWEK, Borneo)
Pacitanian choppers in isles ( PACITAN, Java)

100,000-40,000 ya -- Solo Man? (NGANDONG, JAVA)

40,000 ya -- Philippine, Bismark, and Australian archaeological evidence
Ngandongian tools - chalcedonnay flake tools

20,000 ya -- Tabonian flake tools in isles

5000 BC -- Hoabinhian life (SPIRIT CAVE, HOAB BINH)

4000 BC -- first rice chaff (NON NOK THA)

4000 BC -- phytolith evidence from coast (KOK PHANOM DI)

2500 BC -- Domesticated rice (NON NOK THA, KOK PHANOM DI)

1000-400 BC - Emerging civilization (DONGSON)
Bronze Drums

400 BC - AD 800 - Early Mandalas (FUNAN, SRIVI JAYA)

AD 1000 - States and Empires (KHMER, JAVA)

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