Asian Perspectives, 1999 - Volume 38, Number 1 (Spring)

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Asian Perspectives is the leading peer-reviewed archaeological journal devoted to the prehistory of Asia and the Pacific region. In addition to archaeology, it features articles and book reviews on ethnoarchaeology, palaeoanthropology, physical anthropology, and ethnography of interest and use to the prehistorian. International specialists contribute regional reports summarizing current research and fieldwork, and present topical reports of significant sites. Occasional special issues focus on single topics.


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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 8
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    Jomon Pottery Production in Central Japan
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1999) Habu, Junko ; Hall, Mark E.
    Energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) analysis was used to examine the chemical composition of Jomon potsherds. Jomon is the name of a prehistoric hunter-gatherer culture in Japan that lasted from about 12,500 to 2,300 B.P. It is characterized by the production and use of pottery, large settlements, and longdistance trade. Potsherd samples were taken from three Jomon sites in the Kanto and Chubu regions in central Japan. The majority of the samples are dated to the Moroiso phase (c. 5000 B.P.) of the early Jomon period. Linear discriminant analysis, with and without cross-validation, and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOV A) indicate that there are three distinct chemical groups that coincide with the three sites. Stepwise discriminant analysis indicates that the iron (Fe), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), strontium (Sr), yttrium (Y), and zinc (Zn) are the most significant chemical discriminators between the three sites. These findings are interpreted as indicating that each settlement produced its own pottery, utilizing local materials. The misclassified sherds could be the result of some form of trade or exchange, or of movement of people between communities. KEYWORDS: Jomon hunter-gatherers, Japan, energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), discriminant analysis.
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    Agricultural Terracing at Nakauvadra, Viti Levu: A Late Prehistoric Irrigated Agrosystem in Fiji
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1999) Kuhlken, Robert ; Crosby, Andrew
    Agricultural intensification on Pacific Islands often resulted in dramatic and durable modifications to the environment. Irrigated terrace agrosystems for the cultivation of wetland taro (Colocasia esculenta) reshaped hillsides and stream valleys in many areas of Fiji. The functional morphology and design of several now abandoned terrace systems were examined on the northern flanks of the Nakauvadra Mountains in northeast Viti Levu, an area that manifests the largest expanse of terracing in the archipelago. Garden types comprise regularly tiered surfaces with earthen bunds constructed as contours on open slopes, along with rock-faced plots alongside streams and below springs in wooded ravines. Radiocarbon dates from garden soil and an associated settlement site indicate probable use and occupation during the Late Prehistoric period of the early nineteenth century. Although probably not involved in the large-scale wars of political confederation, the taro growers of Nakauvadra implemented fail-safe subsistence strategies that were combined with the need for concealment and defensibility. Archaeological and oral-historical evidence suggests an intense but short-lived period of food production placed out of harm's way. European contact and subsequent colonization introduced numerous factors that rendered this agricultural infrastmcture obsolete. KEYWORDS: agricultural terracing, irrigation, Fiji, political ecology.
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    A New Date for the Phnom Da Images and Its Implications for Early Cambodia
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1999) Dowling, Nancy H.
    The widely held belief that the earliest known Cambodian sculpture from Phnom Da has an early-sixth-century date is challenged. New artistic evidence supports a mid-seventh-century date on which a new chronology for early Cambodian sculpture can be established. This new inception date has implications for the understanding of early Cambodia. It indicates that the Phnom Da images have no association with Rudravarman, the last king of Funan. This separates the Phnom Da images from the named ruler and shortens by 100 years the chronology for early Cambodian sculpture. The earliest known Cambodian images are now inseparable from a widespread artistic development in seventh-century Cambodia, when permanent materials first appeared in temple architecture and sculpture. The seventh century inception date indicates that "the strategy of monumental validation" first appeared in the early to mid-seventh century after the replacement of Funan by Chenla. Only then does the artistic evidence suggest that local rulers seriously began to adopt Indian practices and beliefs that were to characterize Southeast Asia for the next 1000 years. KEYWORDS: Southeast Asia, art history, early Cambodian art, Funan, sculpture, Indianization of Southeast Asia.
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    Dry-Season Flood-Recession Rice in the Mekong Delta: Two Thousand Years of Sustainable Agriculture?
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1999) Fox, Jeff ; Ledgerwood, Judy
    The Mekong Delta is famous as the hearth of one of the earliest civilizations in mainland Southeast Asia. Called "Funan" by visiting Chinese dignitaries, the lower Mekong Delta housed at least two urban centers by the third century A.D.: OC Eo in Viet Nam and Angkor Borei in Cambodia. Land-use practices found in and around Angkor Borei today are described and the relative antiquity of these practices is speculated upon. Dry-season flood-recession rice, the major land use in the area, is an ancient land-use system that, taking advantage of the fertile silt deposited by the annual floods, is both extremely productive and sustainable. Although we have no physical evidence of flood-recession rice in third-century Angkor Borei, there is no technical reason (soil fertility, water, technology, or labor) why it could not have formed the agricultural basis of this civilization. In fact, dry-season flood-recession rice not only may have formed the agricultural basis of Angkor Borei in the early historic period but also may have dictated the location of the city. Furthermore, it is hypothesized that the system of dry-season flood-recession agriculture was adopted elsewhere in the delta either in advance of or in congruence with other lower Mekong polities (e.g., Chenla and Angkor). If this hypothesis proves true, then dryseason flood-recession rice has played a much larger role in the early history and culture of the lower Mekong Delta than has been appreciated by students of the region. KEYWORDS: Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Mekong Delta, rice agriculture, floodrecession farming, Geographic Information Systems.
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