Asian Perspectives, 1998 - Volume 37, Number 2 (Fall)

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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 - 8 of 8
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    Microblade Technology in Korea and Adjacent Northeast Asia
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1998) Seong, Chuntaek
    Research history of the microlithic in northeast Asia reveals that while heavy emphasis has been placed upon reconstructing microblade techniques, little effort has been made in providing a systematic framework for examining microlithic technology. This study attempts to present an inclusive classification system of microblade technology based on the concept of reduction process. Technological classes are obtained by intersecting several types from three (or four) dimensions: blank formation (I, II, III, IV), platform preparation (A, B, C), and blade detachment (location and angle, a, a1, b, b 1, c, Cl). Some eighty microblade cores reported from ten Korean localities are analyzed. Variation of Korean microblade technology is closely associated with regional-scale differences in raw material availability, and three patterns are suggested: a northern pattern of obsidian type III and IV -cores as shown in MandaI, Sangmuryong, and Hahwagye materials; a central pattern with a high portion of elongated bifacial cores made of siliceous shale as represented by Suyanggae (and possibly Sokchang); and a southern pattern typically associated with type II tuff cores. Only a few samples of absolute dates are available for Korean microlithic assemblages, while the overwhelming amount of surface collections and limited distribution to the top of Pleistocene deposits suggest that most Korean microliths can be dated to the final Pleistocene. KEYWORDS: microblade core, microblade technology, reduction sequence, Korea, northeast Asia.
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    Liao Archaeology: Tombs and Ideology along the Northern Frontier of China
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1998) Shatzman Steinhardt, Nancy
    The death and burial practices of the semi-nomadic Liao empire (A.D. 947-1125) of China and Inner Mongolia are explored to determine whether, once the northeast Asian group known as the Qidan established their dynasty in Chinese territory, they came to follow the customs of the Chinese afterlife as they had done in their transformations from nomadism to city dwelling and from native practices to Buddhist worship; or, if in the privacy of death they retained their native rites and customs. Evidence pertaining to this issue comes both from Chinese texts and from excavations of Liao-period tombs. Chinese texts about Qidan burial practice are cited, showing that from the Chinese point of view, the burial customs of the Qidan classified them as barbarians. Evidence from Qidan tombs, however, seems to contradict the Chinese textual accounts. The tombs of the Liao emperors, it will be shown, employed Chinese architecture in dramatic fashion even in the early tenth century. Excavated evidence from nonroyal Liao tombs also shows the use of Chinese building traditions. Beneath or behind the architectural facades, however, native Qidan practices often persisted. In addition, it is argued that burial practices suggest that the Qidan not only deviated at times from Chinese funerary practices, but also were influenced by practices of other peoples of north and northeast Asia, including the first-millenium B.C. Scythians. KEYWORDS: Chinese archaeology, north Asia, northeast Asia, mortuary practices, ethnicity.
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    Recent Archaeological Research in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1998) Sand, Christophe
    Recent archaeological research in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia has added to our understanding of the region's culture history. Excavations at nine primarily rockshelter sites on the islands of Ouvea, Lifou, and Mare suggest that the earliest human occupation of the Loyalty' Islands, as with New Caledonia, is attributed to the Lapita complex; there is no preceramic tradition evident at these sites. Along with dentate-stamped pottery, the Lapita age ceramics are associated with other forms of decoration that have not been described previously. The Lapita assemblage and assemblages from subsequent occupations at these sites produced pottery and lithic materials suggestive of continuous but diminishing interaction over time with the main island of New Caledonia. Several sites contain archaeological deposits that record the transition to recent history and the arrival of European voyagers and missionaries in the region. KEYWORDS: Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Lapita, culture history, Melanesian archaeology.
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    The Australian National University-National Museum of Vanuatu Archaeology Project: A Preliminary Report on the Establishment of Cultural Sequences and Rock Art Research
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1998) Bedford, Stuart ; Spriggs, Matthew ; Wilson, Meredith ; Regenvanu, Ralph
    Despite an intensive period of research in Vanuatu in the 1960s and J 970s, a number of basic questions regarding the archaeology of the archipelago have remained largely unexplored. The Australian National University-National Museum of Vanuatu Archaeological Project, which began in 1994, was established in an attempt to rectify some of these archaeological gaps. Research has been carried out on islands in the northern (Malakula, Maewo), central (Efate), and southern (Erromango) regions of Vanuatu. The work has concentrated on establishing ceramic sequences for the different islands and on a further understanding of the rock art, including its meaning and changes through time. The evidence collected thus far overwhelmingly indicates that the islands were initially colonized some 3000 years ago by Lapita settlers. Negative evidence thus far indicates that the islands were not settled prior to the arrival of Lapita colonizers. Dentate-stamped Lapita ceramics arrived with the initial colonizers and the ceramic traditions that followed evolved from the Lapita tradition. KEYWORDS: Vanuatu, Lapita, Mangaasi, ceramic sequences, rock art, radiocarbon dates.
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    The Tongan Maritime Expansion: A Case in the Evolutionary Ecology of Social Complexity
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1998) Aswani, Shankar ; Graves, Michael W.
    The evolution of the Tongan maritime empire, involving both the development of social complexity and geographic expansion through conquest and trading, are examined by means of evolutionary ecology. This Darwinian evolutionary framework provides the mechanism and identifies the environmental structure, processes, and behavioral strategies by which to account for the geographic and temporal pattern of change in Tonga and related islands. Both ethnohistorical and archaeological data are employed in this analysis, showing how both may reveal overlapping aspects of historical change. The results of this research highlight the importance not only of competition but also of cooperative strategies in the evolution of social complexity and the process of geographic expansion. Key to explaining the evolution of Tongan social complexity are the productive but uncertain environment of Tongatapu, the location of Tongatapu in relation to other islands and prevailing winds, the smail landmass of the island, the relatively early integration of the island into a single polity, the creation of collateral ruling lineages, the appropriation of voyaging technology to redirect competition from within Tongatapu to other islands through colonization, aggression, staple and wealth goods trade, and the exchange of spouses. KEYWORDS: evolution of social complexity, evolutionary ecology, Tongan maritime complex, Polynesian archaeology, ethnohistory.
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    37:2 Table of Contents - Asian Perspectives
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 1998)
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