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Ref ID: 22500
Ref Type: Book Section
Authors: Tayles, Nancy
Halcrow, Sian
Clark, Angela
Title: Ban Non Wat: current research on late prehistoric people in the Upper Mun River Valley, northeast Thailand
Date: 2015
Source: Advancing Southeast Asian archaeology 2013: selected papers from the First SEAMEO SPAFA International Conference on Southeast Asian Archaeology
Place of Publication: Bangkok, Thailand
Publisher: SEAMEO SPAFA Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts
Abstract: The late prehistoric Southeast Asian site of Ban Non Wat, with 630 burials interred over ~2000 years, allows detailed, multifaceted bioarchaeological research into the lives of the people represented. Here we review findings to date, including demography, immigration, diet, health, patterns of physical activity and skeletal evidence of mortuary practices. The demographic data suggest population growth in the Neolithic and iron age phases at the site, although the patterns of mortality also suggest that the iron age population was contending with an epidemiological problem, possibly malaria. Evidence from strontium isotopes suggest immigration is not the explanation for the population growth. Dietary evidence from carbon isotopes in dental enamel supports an increasing contribution of rice to the diet until the iron age, when it appears to reduce again. In the Neolithic and bronze age, non-specific health indicators in adults (linear enamel hypoplasia and subperiosteal lesions) varied over time in a complex manner but physical activity shows a consistent pattern. Mortuary practices inferred from skeletal positions show increasing variation in burial contexts over time until the iron age, when they reduced again. Overall the research is suggesting strongly that the lives of the people at Ban Non Wat improved from the Neolithic into the bronze age but declined again when climate change occurred in the iron age. The variability in the evidence available to date shows the human biological response to changing circumstances was complex and a final interpretation awaits completion of the project.
Date Created: 1/25/2016
Editors: Tan, Noel Hidalgo
Page Start: 279
Page End: 288