Skip to main content
Ref ID: 36406
Ref Type: Thesis
Authors: Shoocongdej, Rasmi
Title: Forager mobility organization in seasonal tropical environments: a view from Lang Kamnan cave, western Thailand
Date: 1996
Source: Anthropology
Place of Publication: Ann Arbor
Publisher: University of Michigan
Type: diss
Abstract: Recent progress towards understanding forager mobility has focused primarily on foragers in arctic, boreal, temperate, and arid tropical environments. In contrast, little research has been done on mobility and related organizational processes in humid tropical environments, which are complex and highly diverse ecosystems. Tropical environments are not all alike, and can be quite different from the seasonally unchanging environments archaeologists often assume them to be. In addition, much research has focused on 'collector' mobility systems, while we have not as thoroughly explored 'forager' mobility organization. Archaeologists generally assume that residentially organized systems are associated with the tropics. Based on cross-cultural comparisons, this research explores how foragers are mobile in the Southeast Asian seasonal tropics. It concentrates on a specific aspect of a general mobility model, the relationship between seasonality and mobility strategies. The model argues that a residential mobility strategy is associated with the wet season, while a logistical mobility strategy is an organizational response to the dry season. Archaeological data from excavations at Lang Kamnan, a Late and post-Pleistocene cave site in western Thailand, are examined as a case study. Southeast Asian archaeologists refer to this period by the term 'Hoabinhian.' Variability in the Late and post-Pleistocene archaeological record has generally been viewed as the consequence of sequential occupations by different 'cultures.' Evaluation of the mobility model demonstrates how this approach can help us gain insight into the Late and post-Pleistocene cultural systems. The result of detailed analyses from a single site provide insights into task activities, site function, and temporal changes in the composition of material remains. The analyses demonstrate that residential mobility was employed by small groups of foragers using a generalized subsistence technology during the wet season. The archaeological and environmental evidence suggest that the site was occupied sporadically from the Late Pleistocene to the Late Holocene. However, this research has not yet shown archaeologically that a logistical mobility strategy was applied in the dry season. No concrete evidence of dry season occupation was found at the site. Further research must be pursued to completely test the model.
Date Created: 5/12/2003