Asian Perspectives, 2001 - Volume 40, 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 - 10 of 10
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    The Martaban Trade: An Examination of the Literature from the Seventh until the Eighteenth Century
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001) Gutman, Pamela
    Epigraphic and literary evidence for a pottery tradition in Lower Burma dating from the early centuries of the present era are discussed. The tradition is mentioned first in Buddhist texts, and is alluded to in Chinese and Indian histories. A Sanskrit inscription of around the eighth century A.D. referring to Kalasapura, the city ofjars, coincides with finds at sites in Lower Burma where contact with both eastern India and Dvaravati is evidenced in unglazed wares. By the eleventh century, Mon people around the Gulf of Martaban, particularly between Twante and Moulmein, influenced the pottery of Pagan, seen in illustrations in frescoes and glazed terracotta plaques. Ports around this coastline were important links in the China-India porcelain trade and later in the export of Sawankhalok and other Siamese wares, as well as glazed wares from sites around the Gulf. Arab, Chinese, and European sources trace the history of this trade from the fourteenth centmy until its decline in the eighteenth century. KEYWORDS: Martaban, Pyu, Mon, terracotta, glazed wares, Lower Burma, Pagan.
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    Early Burmese Urbanization: Research and Conservation
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001) Miksic, John N.
    Urbanization in Southeast Asia is sometimes assumed to have been synonymous with the development of orthogenetic structures such as religious centers under external influence. An alternative hypothesis proposes that social structures stimulated by local cultural and environmental conditions and regional historical events emerged in several parts of Southeast Asia, marked by evolution rather than stasis. One of the major stumbling blocks in the path toward a new theory is a lack of appropriate archaeological data with which to test this hypothesis. A thorough research program is therefore needed to refine and implement a methodology for gathering data on a wide range of characteristics from several sites. Myanmar affords one of the best laboratories for such a program. Restoration projects have seriously affected both structures and distributions of artifacts such as pottery before they were thoroughly studied. Previous research in Thailand and Java can provide models on which planners of a project to investigate ancient urbanization in Myanmar can draw. Sustainable heritage tourism can contribute positively to both archaeological research and public education. KEYWORDS: urbanization, cultural resource management, archaeological survey, Pagan, Majapahit.
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    Dating the City Wall, Fortifications, and the Palace Site at Pagan
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001) Grave, Peter ; Barbetti, Mike
    The strengths and limitations of radiocarbon dating as applied to samples taken in and around the walled city center of Pagan, in Burma, are addressed. The last thousand years in mainland Southeast Asia remains a difficult period to date absolutely because of two critical issues. The first is the use of wood from long-lived species, such as teak, in archaeological contexts. The archaeologist dating such material must be aware of the significance of a date range that relates to the period when a tree was alive rather than to when the wood was actually used in the construction or reconstruction. The second issue stems from the character of the radiocarbon calibration curve for this time period. Several plateaux exist in the curve that seriously broaden the calendar age ranges deriving from uncalibrated high-precision dates. These effects are outlined using two areas sampled for radiocarbon dating at Pagan: the fortifications near the Tharaba Gate and a site within the old city walls, Inventory No. 1590, known as the palace. KEYWORDS: Pagan, Bagan, Burma, Myanmar, radiocarbon, fire, fortifications, absolute chronology, calibration.
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    The Origins of Bagan: New Dates and Old Inhabitants
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001) Hudson, Bob ; Lwin, Nyein ; Maung, Win (Tanpawady)
    Bagan is a major early urban center in Myanmar (Burma). Hundreds of Buddhist monuments were built there between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries A.D. The dating of activities earlier than this has until recently not been supported by scientific evidence. Part of Otein Taung, a "pottery hill" in the middle of the urban complex, has now been radiocarbon dated between A.D. 650 and 830. A new survey of the spread of "Pyu" fingermarked bricks has located these cultural markers, widespread in Myanmar in the first millennium A.D., in more than 50 buildings at Bagan. This spatial and dating evidence suggests that before Bagan became a historically recorded economic and military power, and a key ritual center, it was a substantial settlement contemporaneous with some of Myanmar's distinctive first millennium "Pyu" sites. KEYWORDS: Myanmar, Burma, Bagan, Pagan, archaeology, excavation, earthenware, pottery, Pyu, Tircul, urbanism, radiocarbon, settlement, spatial, GIS.
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    Nyaung-gan: A Preliminary Note on a Bronze Age Cemetery near Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001) Moore, Elizabeth ; Pauk, Pauk
    Preliminary excavations were made in 1998 at a cemetery south of Nyaung-gan Village, near Mandalay, in central Myanmar (Burma). The site is located on the edge of a volcanic crater; there are nearby copper deposits. Three main types of artifacts were recovered from the excavation: ceramics, stone rings, and bronzes. Survey of the surrounding area includes possible smelting and stone ring production sites. Much remains to be learned about the Nyaung-gan cemetery, but it is already clear that the finds from the site contribute greatly to the knowledge of Myanmar prehistory. KEYWORDS: Burma, Myanmar, prehistory, Pyu, stone rings, Southeast Asia.
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    Origins and Development of the Field of Prehistory in Burma
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001) Aung-Thwin, Michael A.
    The circumstances under which the study of prehistory evolved in Burma are summarized and some of the issues, problems, and research topics are identified for future students of Burma's prehistory. KEYWORDS: Anyathian, Hoabinhian, Pleistocene terraces, Upper Burma, Padah-lin caves, Taungthaman, Beikthano Myo, Chauk, Kyaukpadaung, Irrawaddy, Chindwin, Pagan, Nyaung-U, Magwe, Minbu, Pakokku, New Gwe Hill, Chelleo-Acheulean, copper, bronze, Halin, Nyaunggan, Budalin Township, Monywa.
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    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001) Aung-Thwin, Michael A. ; Stark, Miriam T.
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    40:1 Table of Contents - Asian Perspectives
    (University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu), 2001)
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