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Ref ID: 36332
Ref Type: Thesis
Authors: Gallon, Matt
Title: Ideology, identity and the construction of urban communities:the archaeology of Kamphaeng Saen, central Thailand (c. fifth to ninth century CE)
Date: 2013
Source: Anthropology
Place of Publication: Ann Arbor
Publisher: University of Michigan
Type: Ph. D.
Abstract: For the more than 12,000 years that humans have lived in permanent settlements, the majority of sedentary communities have had small populations where relationships based on kinship maintained order and provided group identities. The development of urban communities, whose populations far exceeded those of villages and hamlets, overwhelmed the ability of traditional kinship-based mechanisms to maintain social order. New types of relationships and identities that supplemented kinship ties were needed to unite and govern the residents of early urban centers. During the first millennium CE, the people of central Thailand faced these challenges as they underwent population nucleation, urbanization and increased political centralization. As part of this process, by the fifth century CE shared forms of material culture, artistic styles, religious ideologies and settlement plans began to spread among the communities of central Thailand and ultimately beyond, marking the development of the Dvaravati culture. In this dissertation, I examine the origins and dynamics of Dvaravati urban communities from the perspective of regional-level relationships among centers, as well as the relationships between the residents within individual centers. I focus on the lower-order Dvaravati center of Kamphaeng Saen, where I conducted archaeological surveys and excavations to investigate the site’s chronology and spatial organization. This research revealed that the community formed relatively abruptly in the fifth century CE, likely as the result of the consolidation of several smaller villages, and was then abandoned by the ninth century CE, several centuries earlier than most other Dvaravati centers. I argue that the construction and use of the earthworks and Buddhist monuments at the site played a key role in the development of the community by fostering non-kinship based group identities, as well as allowing emerging elites to materialize ideological concepts that supported their authority. A regional-level comparison of the configuration of monuments at Dvaravati centers reveals increasing standardization of urban plans, which may have partly been the result of emulation and competition between the leaders of these centers. Finally, I compare how the origins and character of Dvaravati centers compare to urban traditions elsewhere in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.
Date Created: 12/4/2013
Page End: 308