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Ref ID: 25368
Ref Type: Book Section in a Series
Authors: Castillo, Cristina
Title: Archaeobotany, evidence of exchange networks, and agricultural practices
Date: 2017
Source: Khao Sam Kaeo: An Early Port-City between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea
Place of Publication: Paris
Publisher: École Française d'Extrême-Orient
Notes: Southeast Asia is lagging behind other regions of the world in the study of archaeological plant remains or archaeobotany. However, these are now several archaeobotanical studies that have contributed to the discussion of agricultural evolution in the region. One such study is the archaeobotany of Khao Sam Kaeo. This urban site dates to the Metal Age and was an important entrepôt situated between several spheres of contact, South Asia to the west and to the east, China and the South China Sea. The results from five years of archaeobotanical research show movements of plants from the east and the west. It provides the first evidence of Indian pulses into Southeast Asia and together with the material culture found, archaeobotany contributes complementary evidence of early movements of people along exchange routes through the study of the crops people brought along with them. The primary purpose of examining the archaeobotanical results from Khao Sam Kaeo is to add to the understanding of how an early urban site with an active exchange network and specialised craft production would have supported itself. These results provide insights into the agricultural base that sustained the different communities at this Prehistoric urban site: the local population, temporary settlers and transient voyagers. The main findings of the study show that at Khao Sam Kaeo, the population relied on rice. However, due to contact with foreign communities, there was also a component of South Asian pulses and cash crops, as well as some evidence of foxtail millet. Furthermore, the examination of weed flora associated with rice helped define the system of land use at Khao Sam Kaeo as a dryland cultivation regime. Because there are very few archaeobotanical studies in Mainland Southeast Asia, the information derived from this study adds to the understanding not only of how an early urban site supported itself, but also adds to the wider discussion of regional agriculture, exchanged foodstuffs, origins of agriculture and movements of crops (especially rice and millet).
Date Created: 9/12/2017
Editors: Bellina, Bérénice
Volume: 28
Page Start: 71
Page End: 123
Series Title: Mémoires Archéologiques