Smelting Iron from Laterite: Technical Possibility or Ethnographic Aberration?

dc.contributor.author Pryce, T.O. en_US
dc.contributor.author Natapintu, S. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-05-23T18:12:39Z
dc.date.available 2013-05-23T18:12:39Z
dc.date.issued 2009 en_US
dc.description.abstract The existing Southeast Asian archaeological literature commonly presupposes that the region’s extensive laterite deposits are rich in iron and have been used as ore sources for the smelting of iron. We summarize what is known about laterite in light of the universal physico-chemical requirements for the bloomery smelting of iron, and suggest that in each instance the interpretation of laterite as an iron ore should be proven and not assumed. We present a case study from the fourteenthto fifteenth-century a.d. site of Ban Kao Din Tai, recently excavated by Thai and Cambodian archaeologists in Buriram Province in northeast Thailand. The proximity of this site to known laterite deposits, along with the recovery of laterite fragments near what are thought to be smelting furnaces, could imply that past metalworkers were exploiting a local source of iron oxides for metal production. Here we discuss the likelihood of this association. If laterite is not a ubiquitous iron source for Southeast Asian iron production, then there is strong research potential to examine iron’s possible role in regional exchange networks. Iron production and consumption evidence may provide an exciting new angle for investigating Southeast Asian social interactions, and we outline some of the analytical techniques that could elucidate them. en_US
dc.format.extent 16 pages en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0066-8435 (Print) en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1535-8283 (E-ISSN) en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10125/29093
dc.language.iso en-US en_US
dc.publisher University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu) en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Volume 48 en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Number 2 en_US
dc.rights Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States en_US
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ en_US
dc.subject archaeometallurgy en_US
dc.subject exchange networks en_US
dc.subject iron en_US
dc.subject laterite en_US
dc.subject smelting en_US
dc.subject smithing en_US
dc.subject Thailand en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Prehistoric peoples--Asia--Periodicals. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Prehistoric peoples--Oceania--Periodicals. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Oceania--Antiquities--Periodicals. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh East Asia--Antiquities--Periodicals. en_US
dc.title Smelting Iron from Laterite: Technical Possibility or Ethnographic Aberration? en_US
dc.type Other en_US
dc.type.dcmi Text en_US
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