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Evidence for Prehistoric Dryland Farming in Mainland Southeast Asia: Results of Regional Survey in Lopburi Province, Thailand

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Title: Evidence for Prehistoric Dryland Farming in Mainland Southeast Asia: Results of Regional Survey in Lopburi Province, Thailand
Authors: Mudar, Karen M.
Keywords: locational analysis
wet rice agriculture
central Thailand
LC Subject Headings: Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals.
Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals.
Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Oceania--Antiquities--Periodicals.
East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals.
Issue Date: 1995
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Citation: Mudar, K. M. 1995. Evidence for Prehistoric Dryland Farming in Mainland Southeast Asia: Results of Regional Survey in Lopburi Province, Thailand. Asian Perspectives 34 (2): 157-94.
Series/Report no.: Volume 34
Number 2
Abstract: Recent research on the eastern margins of the Bangkok Plain in central Thailand has identified a series of prehistoric sites that do not fit a pattern of reliance on wet rice agriculture. A systematic settlement survey in Lopburi Province has identified habitation dating from the third millennium B.C. to the first millennium A.D. on a fan-terrace complex adjacent to the Central Plain. The survey focused on the middle- and high-terrace areas of the Lam Maleng Stream Valley. Results indicate that a significant number of the prehistoric sites were located on high terraces whose soil characteristics did not encourage wet-rice cultivation, suggesting that these settlements did not rely on wet rice for subsistence. Migration to middle-terrace soils suitable for wet rice did not occur until after the beginning of the present era, further indicating that a shift to wet-rice cultivation occurred relatively late in the occupation of the area. A pattern of prehistoric settlement location excluding ready access to rice-growing soils has not been reported for Mainland Southeast Asia, possibly because of the unusual features ofsoil and climate in the eastern Marginal Plains. Agricultural strategies in prehistoric Mainland Southeast Asia may have been more diverse than generally thought. Assumptions about the importance of wet rice in the prehistoric economies of Southeast Asian societies may also have structured research strategies, especially survey methods, in ways that have not produced representative samples of sites. Results from the Lam Maleng Valley survey suggest that dryland farming may have provided a viable economic base prehistorically. KEYWORDS: locational analysis, wet rice agriculture, central Thailand.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/17063
ISSN: 1535-8283 (E-ISSN)
0066-8435 (Print)
Appears in Collections:Asian Perspectives, 1995 - Volume 34, Number 2 (Fall)



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