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Sites, survey, and ceramics: Settlement patterns of the first to ninth centuries CE in the Upper Mun River Valley, northeast Thailand

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2016

Abstract

Our understanding of the transition from the last centuries of prehistory to the Pre-Angkorian period in northeast Thailand has been limited by a lack of projects bridging both periods. This article examines settlement patterns of the first to the ninth centuries CE in the Upper Mun River Valley based on recent (2012–14) surveys. The findings highlight the gradual settlement trends in the region, with a focus on local modification rather than the sudden adoption of external ideas. Results reinforce the fourth to sixth centuries CE as a pivotal period, when large centres consolidated and cautiously expanded upriver, into previously uninhabited regions. A relatively modest, flexible, and resilient settlement strategy developed, attuned to wider supra-regional trends, but allowing for the demands of the local cultural and physical landscape.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The National University of Singapore 2016 

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References

1 Alluvial floodplains (123–140 m asl), shallow alluvial floodplains (140–160 m asl), low-mid terraces (160–200 m asl), and uplands (200–262 m asl), were surveyed using 50 m transects. Survey area D was based on notes from the earlier Khorat Basin Archaeological Project (KBAP). See Caitlin Evans, ‘Sites, ceramics, and settlement: New survey in the Upper Mun River Valley, northeast Thailand’ (Ph.D. diss., James Cook University, 2016). This survey was undertaken with the assistance of Jitlada Innanchai, Earthwatch volunteers, National Research Council of Thailand, and the Fine Arts Department of Thailand (FAD).

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29 Higham, ‘The long and winding road’: 272–7; Higham and Rispoli, ‘The Mun Valley’.

30 Higham et al., The origins of the civilisation of Angkor, vol. 2.

31 Higham and Rispoli, ‘The Mun Valley’: 17.

32 Observed by the authors on site, during the excavation of Non Ban Jak, Jan. 2014.

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35 Fine Arts Department, The excavation of Phon Songkhram (in Thai) (Bangkok: FAD); translated courtesy Jitlada Innanchai.

36 FAD, ‘Plan and report of the survey and excavations of ancient monuments in north-eastern Thailand, Thailand’ (in Thai) (Bangkok: FAD, 1959); Welch, ‘Archaeology of northeast Thailand’: 223–5.

37 Wangsuk, ‘The cultural development in the Mun River Basin’, p. 209.

38 Murphy, Stephen, ‘Buddhism and its relationship to Dvaravati period settlement patterns and material culture in northeast Thailand and central Laos ca. sixth–eleventh centuries A.D.: A historical ecology approach to the landscape of the Khorat Plateau’, Asian Perspectives 52, 2 (2013): 300326 Google Scholar.

39 An exception to this are the upland sites of ‘forest monasticism’ described by Murphy, ‘Buddhism and its relationship to Dvaravati period’, p. 301.

40 Higham, ‘The long and winding road’: 272–7; Bennet Bronson, ‘The late prehistory and early history of central Thailand with special reference to Chansen’, in Smith and Watson, Early South East Asia, pp. 327–8; Welch, ‘Adaptation’, p. 150; Talbot, Sarah and Chutima, Janthed, ‘Northeast Thailand before Angkor: Evidence from an archaeological excavation at the Prasat Hin Phimai’, Asian Perspectives 40, 2 (2001): 183 Google Scholar.

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46 Higham and Rispoli, ‘The Mun Valley’.

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58 Wesley Clarke, Ohio University, pers. comm., 16 June 2014.

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68 Bauer, ‘Notes on Mon epigraphy’; Talbot, ‘Before Angkor’: 76.

69 Higham and Rispoli, ‘The Mun Valley’.

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92 Gallon, ‘Ideology, identity’, p. 291.

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