Asian Perspectives, 2018 - Volume 57, Number 1 (Spring)

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    In MemoriamZhang Zhongpei 张忠培 (5 August 1934 – 5 July 2017)
    ( 2018) Li, Longlam
    On the morning of 5 July 2017, a message shocked the Chinese archaeological and heritage community. At the age of 83, Professor Zhang Zhongpei had died from an illness in Beijing. Zhang was one of the pioneering Chinese archaeological scholars and a great teacher of archaeology who founded the Archaeological Department of Jilin University.
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    Curve of the Hook: Yosihiko Sinoto, An Archaeologist in Polynesia. Yosihiko Sinoto with Hiroshi Aramata; ed. Frank Stewart, trans. Madoka Nagado. Mānoa: A Pacific Journal 28 (1); Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2016. xxix + 205 pp., color and black-and-white photographs throughout. Paper, US $29. ISBN 978-0-8248-6623-5.
    ( 2018) Kurashina, Hiro ; Stephenson, Rebecca A.
    Curve of the Hook: Yosihiko Sinoto, An Archaeologist in Polynesia is an English language adaptation of a Japanese book entitled Rakuen Kokogaku by Yosihiko Sinoto and Hiroshi Aramata, which was originally published by Heibonsha Ltd., in Tokyo in 1994. Rakuen Kokogaku can be directly translated to English to mean Archaeology of Paradise or Paradise Archaeology. Until his recent passing in October 2017, Dr. Yosihiko Sinoto (henceforth Yosi) occupied the Kenneth Pike Emory Distinguished Chair in Anthropology and was a Senior Anthropologist at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Hiroshi Aramata is a Japanese author, journalist, and translator. The Japanese edition won a prestigious book award, the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for Literature in 1996. In 1999, it was recognized as one of the best one hundred biographies about a Japanese person published in the twentieth century. In June 2017, the English language edition, Curve of the Hook, won the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association 2017 Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award in the category of Excellence in Nonfiction.
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    Mapping the Indo-Pacific Beads vis-à-vis Papanaidupet. Alok Kumar Kanungo. New Delhi and Madrid: Aryan Books International and International Commission on Glass, 2016. xii + 92 pp., €24. ISBN 978-81-7305-547-8.
    ( 2018) Babalola, Abidemi Babatunde
    Alok Kumar Kanungo’s Mapping the Indo-Pacific Beads vis-à-vis Papanaidupet discusses the production of a particular kind of glass bead purported to have originated in South India over two and a half millennia ago. This Indo-Pacific glass bead is claimed to have spread across vast areas of southern and southeastern Asia as well as the eastern sub-region of the African continent. Borne from nearly two decades of Kanungo’s archaeological and ethnographic research on glass and glass beads in India and surrounding regions, this book maps the spread of the Indo-Pacific (IP) beads in Southeast Asia, documents the process of production of the beads at the extant glass bead making factories at Papanaidupet, and describes the social, economic, and ritual use of the beads across Southeast Asia. Contributing to our knowledge of the importance of India in the history of glass, the author details complexities associated with the archaeological study of glass. These difficulties include (1) reconstructing techniques of glass bead production, (2) identifying debris representing different stages in the production chain, and (3) understanding the social collaboration embedded in each step of the production to ensure a successful final product.
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    Glass in Ancient India: Excavations at Kopia. Alok Kumar Kanungo, with 22 additional contributors. Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: Kerala Council for Historical Research, 2013. 475 pp., 597 figures, 144 tables. Hardback, US $50. ISBN 81-85499-46-2.
    ( 2018) Lankton, James W.
    Glass in Ancient India: Excavations at Kopia by Alok Kumar Kanungo (AKK) is a substantial work, reporting on five excavation seasons from 2004 to 2009 at the north Indian site of Kopia, which as early as 1891 was suggested to have been an ancient glass manufacturing site. Excavation in 1949 provided more evidence of glass production, including glass beads and other glass fragments, as well as fragments of reddish brown ceramic vessels thought to have been used as crucibles. Limited chemical analyses of the glass showed soda glass with high alumina and lower lime and magnesia (Roy and Varshney 1953)
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    The Life of the Longhouse: An Archaeology of Ethnicity. Peter Metcalf. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 345 pp., 19 figures, appendix, bibliography, 2 indices. Hardback, £82, US $129. ISBN 9780521110983; 2012 Paperback, £36, US $57. ISBN: 9781107407565.
    ( 2018) Lloyd-Smith, Lindsay
    The work of anthropologist Peter Metcalf will be familiar to many archaeologists. His 1992 co-authored Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual is widely cited by burial archaeologists (Metcalf and Huntington 1992). Metcalf’s interest in the function and meaning of ritual in small scale communities stemmed from his doctoral research on Borneo in the early 1970s, and those who enjoyed Celebrations of Death should seek out his entertainingly detailed A Borneo Journey into Death (1982). A further short classic is Metcalf’s They Lie, We Lie: Getting on with Anthropology (2002), a highly recommended read for all archaeologists involved with community-based projects. In his latest book, The Life of the Longhouse: An Archaeology of Ethnicity, Metcalf revisits his study area of the Brunei hinterland on Borneo to write a detailed historical narrative spanning the last 200 years. He explores the contingent relationships between domestic architecture, pre-modern trading systems, political and ritual economies, and ethnicity – all topics which concern archaeologists. Metcalf maintains the high level of scholarship evident in his earlier work, and with his intimate knowledge of the material is able to convey the intricacies of these narratives and make the book a pleasure to read. In short, it is a work that deserves to become as equally well-known and cited as his earlier books.
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    The People Between the Rivers: The Rise and Fall of a Bronze Drum Culture, 200–750 CE. Catherine Churchman. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. xvii + 266 pp. Hardcover, US $85. ISBN 978-1-4422-5860-0.
    ( 2018) Brindley, Erica Fox
    The People Between the Rivers is a masterful historical account of an important region, its peoples and chieftains, and the various Chinese administrative empires with which they constantly interacted. It provides a focused, interdisciplinary analysis of cultural interactions involving a neglected group of peoples over a large expanse of time, approximately 550 years. The author’s main sources are texts, mostly histories and other treatises written during the period under examination, but Churchman also brings broad insights and critical approaches from linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology to bear on the study; the result is nothing short of spectacular. This study provides a crucial missing link in the chain of our understanding of premodern China–Southeast Asia relations. It is one of the finest histories concerning first millennium c.e. East Asia or Southeast Asia that I have seen in years.
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    Archaeological Heritage in the Tainan Science Park of Taiwan. Cheng-hwa Tsang and Kuang-ti Li. Translated by David Cohen. Tainan Science Park (TSP) Archaeological Discoveries Series 3. Taidong: National Museum of Prehistory, 2015. 359 pp. NT$300. ISBN 978-9-86047413-8.
    ( 2018) Pearson, Richard
    Volume 3 in the Tainan Science Park (TSP) Archaeological Discoveries book series, this visually attractive book summarizes the results of more than ten years of rescue archaeology, beginning in 1996 and directed by Professor Tsang Cheng-hwa at the Tainan Science Park in Southern Taiwan, a complex of over 150 high tech factories employing approximately 60,000 workers. A local branch of the National Museum of Prehistory was included in the plan. At least one excavation team had over 100 workers and over 50 sites covering an area of 1043 ha have been excavated.
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    Plant Microfossil Results from Old Kiyyangan Village: Looking for the Introduction and Expansion of Wet-field Rice (Oryza sativa) Cultivation in the Ifugao Rice Terraces, Philippine Cordilleras
    ( 2018) Horrocks, Mark ; Acabado, Stephen ; Peterson, John
    Pollen, phytolith, and starch analyses were carried out on 12 samples from two trenches in Old Kiyyangan Village, Ifugao Province, providing evidence for human activity from ca. 810–750 cal. b.p. Seed phytoliths and endosperm starch of cf. rice (Oryza sativa), coincident with aquatic Potamogeton pollen and sponge spicule remains, provide preliminary evidence for wet-field cultivation of rice at the site. The first rice remains appear ca. 675 cal. b.p. in terrace sediments. There is a marked increase in these remains after ca. 530–470 cal. b.p., supporting previous studies suggesting late expansion of the cultivation of wet-field rice in this area. The study represents initial, sediment-derived, ancient starch evidence for O. sativa, and initial, sediment-derived, ancient phytolith evidence for this species in the Philippines.
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    The Evolution of Curved Beads (Magatama 勾玉/曲玉) in Jōmon Period Japan and the Development of Individual Ownership
    ( 2018) Nishimura, Yoko
    Curved or comma-shaped stone beads known as magatama (勾玉/曲玉) are often considered to have been used as amulets, talismans, or ritual items in ancient Japan. They are connected with beliefs in the magical power of various symbolically represented animals and the celestial world, the moon, or the soul and spirit. Throughout the Jōmon period, magatama were embedded within common household objects and tools as well as ritual items and they were used, lost, or discarded within houses. The specific functions and meanings of the magatama found in Jōmon houses are not clear, but these beads were consistently present for thousands of years in everyday settings where daily household activities were carried out. In Late Jōmon, however, some magatama beads were included in grave goods in northern Japan (Tōhoku and Hokkaidō). This transformation in their role occasionally spread to central parts of the main island of Japan, such as Hokuriku and Kantō. Other bead types made of talc or jadeite had already been buried in tombs since Early Jōmon, but it was not until Late Jōmon that magatama became regularly buried in tombs, apparently being worn by or given to the deceased at the time of entombment. The dramatic increase in the production of these small curved stone beads and their deployment in clusters of grave pits in cemeteries suggest that this was a personalization process leading to more individualized ownership of the magatama. After Late Jōmon, much smaller and more varied magatama shapes began to occur in graves along with other personal items such as combs, pendants, and earrings. The increased production and individual ownership of these body ornaments suggest that the Jōmon people enjoyed relative material comfort in northern Japan.
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    Human Foodways, Metallurgy, and Landscape Modification of Iron Age Central Thailand
    ( 2018) Liu, Chin-hsin
    The relationship between a population and its immediate natural landscape often shapes the course of social development and cultural practice. The increasing abundance of smelting byproduct in archaeological sites suggests that community-based metallurgical activities, established at least half a millennium earlier, intensified during the Iron Age (ca. 500 b.c.–a.d. 500) in central Thailand. Likely consequences of such a change would include higher demand for firewood, resulting in small-scale forest clearing, with subsequent altered access to wild terrestrial fauna. Tooth enamel from 13 human individuals dated to the Iron Age period of Promtin Tai were sampled for stable carbon isotope analysis to explore how people responded to anthropogenic landscape modification as reflected in the dietary regime. The data revealed that a C3-based dietary pattern was maintained throughout the Promtin Tai occupation. A slight enrichment of δ13C values from the Earlier to Later Iron Age may be attributable to increasing consumption of freshwater fauna, domestic fauna, resources collected from or fed on more opened fields, or any combination of these. A wider diversity of food items brought in via trade networks could also have contributed to the flexibility of foodways. The wealth of natural resources in prehistoric central Thailand facilitated the maintenance of a broad-spectrum diet that was also utilized elsewhere in tropical and subtropical Southeast Asia. This study highlights the key role of small sites, often connected by rivers and trade networks, in contributing to the understanding of prehistoric human ecology and cultural complexity in Mainland Southeast Asia.