4th Southeast Asian Archaeology Workshop, Paris, Friday 29th June 2012

Coordination : Berenice Bellina et Oliver Pryce

You are cordially invited to the 4th Southeast Asian Archaeology Workshop, to be held at the à la Maison de l’Asie (22, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116) in Paris on Friday 29th June 2012.


From its foundation at UCL in 2006, the biannual Workshop has been intended to provide a predominantly Anglo-French forum for the informal dissemination and discussion of state-of-the-art regional research, particularly from post-graduate and post-doctoral scholars, complementary to the larger international format of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists meetings.


Recent and laudable advances in archaeobotanical “Indian Ocean” research have only emphasised the dearth of material culture data on this topic, especially pottery, and thus, for 2012, the Workshop will have a specific focus on “Ceramics related to maritime exchange networks between the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, c. 500 BC to c. 500 AD.”


Southeast Asian Archaeology Workshop IV

09:30 – 10:00 Arrival and coffee


10:00 – 10:15 Opening address from Bérénice Bellina and Oli Pryce


10:15 – 10:45 Yvette Balbaligo (University College London) Ceramic and social practices at Ille Cave, Philippines

Abstract: This paper discusses the ceramics from Ille Cave, a multi-period burial and occupation site dating from 9000 BC, and other caves sites in the Dewil Valley where Ille Cave is situated. The pottery shows a range of decorations, and forms suggest that vessels were associated with burial rituals. While some of the pottery share similar styles with earthenware found in Island Southeast Asia, there are technical and stylistic differences within the earthenware pottery from Ille Cave and between it and other cave sites in the Dewil Valley. This paper discusses the communities of practice who produced this range of pottery and its role in burial practices, to evaluate what this can tell us about the social organisation of the people who used the Dewil Valley. This paper will also assess the cultural links between the Dewil Valley and wider Island Southeast Asia, and consider how pottery and burial practices at the site relate to larger scale and longer term chronologies in the region.


10:45 – 11:15 Phaedra Bouvet (Paris X) Indian and Indian style ceramics from Khao Sam Kaeo (peninsular Thailand, Chumphon province : 4th – 2nd century B.C.) : how a technological approach combined with the GIS can help rough out the social environment of a site?


Indian fine wares (the so-called “rouletted wares”) and Indian style local ceramics have been discovered at Khao Sam Kaeo. The study of their “chaîne opératoire” and the analysis of their distribution at the site provide information about the different social groups who lived at Khao Sam Kaeo and who used those wares : Were they Indian and/or local people? Did they live side by side, or did they live in separate “neighborhoods”? Did their coexistence at the site generate cultural transfers between the groups? With these questions arises the issue of “indianisation before indianisation”


11:15 – 11:45 Break


11:45 – 12:15 Franca Cole (University of Cambridge) TBC

Abstract: TBC


12:15 – 12:45 Aude Favereau (Paris X) and Bérénice Bellina (C.N.R.S.) Upper Peninsula Thailand ceramics indicative of late prehistoric exchange with the South China Sea

Abstract: Since 2005, the Thai-French archaeological mission in Upper Peninsula Thailand has been excavating and surveying sites belonging to various environments, social groups and of multiple uses. Those include a proto-urban settlement of cosmopolitan nature, Khao Sam Kaeo, and caves sites used as camp sites or burials along the coast such as Tham Tuay, Tham Pla (province of Chumphon) and on islands off shore such as Koh Din (province of Surat Thani) as well as in the interior along the earliest transpeninsular routes (sites in the district of Sawi).


Some of these ceramics share a common morpho-stylistic repertoire, amongst which the Sa Huynh-Kalanay-related type, that may be indicative of links to the South China Sea cultural sphere. This assemblage thus helps questioning the interplay between the various groups present in or in contact with the Upper Peninsula and how their circulation and exchange participated in the fashioning of their identity.


12:45 – 14:15 Lunch


14:15 – 14:45 Coline Lefrancq (Université Libre de Bruxelles) Ceramic productions from the early levels of the Mazar area at Mahasthangarh, Bangladesh


My study is based on the analysis of pottery from the Mazar area of the Mahasthangarh archaeological site in Bangladesh. This corpus, containing 95% common wares and 5% fine wares, of which most are Northern Black Polished and Rouletted wares, has not been studied yet. In 2001, the Bangla-French mission opened a new area called Mazar, located near a mosque. Given the information from ten seasons (to 2011), the excavators have delimited a general occupation of the site from the Maurya period to the XIII c. A.D.


In the same spirit as Sandrine Elaigne’s and Dominique Allios’ study of the material from the East Rampart, I am applying a techno-morpho-functional approach to the fine wares discovered during the last four campaigns. I study the diverse productions through the fabric analysis, clay identification and morphological types to reconstruct the chaîne opératoire and to propose possible uses of the vases. Finally, I will compare the results with published assemblages in order to shed a new light on economic exchange networks that developed during the different periods in the area of Mahasthangarh and in the Gulf of Bengal.


14:45 – 15:15 Noémie Martin (CEROI-INALCO) Madagascar, une île au carrefour d’influences

Abstract: La question de l’origine du peuplement malgache a été abordée tout au long du 20e siècle par différentes disciplines. Les études génétiques récentes ont confirmé l’hypothèse de vagues de migration vers Madagascar essentiellement depuis l’Asie du Sud-Est et la côte est-africaine.

Face à cet apport de populations d’origine bantu et austronésienne, la question s’est posée de savoir si la Grande Île s’inscrivait dans un continuum culturel avec l’Asie du Sud-Est ou avec la côte orientale de l’Afrique. J’ai choisi d’aborder cette problématique par le biais d’ensembles céramiques datés entre le 7e et le 16e siècle et qui reflètent la diversité des productions existantes dans l’île.

Les résultats qui seront exposés dans le cadre de cette communication constituent le point de départ d’une réflexion plus large sur la pénétration du monde culturel austronésien en direction de la côte est-africaine et à l’inverse, l’avancée du monde culturel bantu vers Madagascar.


15:15 – 15:45 Break


15:20 – 15:45 Oli Pryce (University of Oxford) Not just pots: building materials, furnaces, moulds, and tuyères are ceramic too!

Abstract: Technical ceramics are a vital component of settlement (archaeological building materials, ‘ABMs’) and high-temperature industrial activities. I will concentrate here on my area of ‘expertise’, metallurgy, but my observations are largely applicable to glass and pottery, which also require kilns and/or crucibles whose design and operation are behaviours liable to be transmitted at variable fidelity through cultural contact and/or migration.


I will focus on two examples: firstly iron smelting furnaces, which as others have noted, provide for an enormous range of technological styles suitable for diachronic and multiscalar comparison between South and Southeast Asia, and potentially East Africa; secondly, high-tin bronze production crucibles/moulds demonstrating an imperfect transmission of a very highly skilled activity across the Bay of Bengal. Advancing non-pottery ceramic studies in trans-Asian research will require enhanced cooperation between material specialists where ancient technologies imply crosscutting skillsets and resource exploitation.


15:45 – 16:15 Jo Shoebridge (Durham University) The impression that the peacock left: Arikamedu Type 10 and Early Historic Indian Ocean networks of contact

Abstract: The South Asian ceramic Arikamedu Type 10 provides a wealth of unique stylistic attributes which, on interpretation, will aid the reconstruction of Early Historic Indian Ocean networks of contact.  This ceramic was first recorded by Sir Mortimer Wheeler during his excavations at Arikamedu on the Coromandel Coast, South India in 1945 (Wheeler et al: 1946) and has since been recorded at sites on the eastern coast of India, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Indonesia.  Previous research including Ford et al (2005) and Krishnan & Coningham (1997) have attempted to investigate the provenance of the raw material of this ceramic but have been unsuccessful.  Therefore this situation is currently being addressed through the development of an analytical technique specifically designed for this research, which principally uses image analysis.


This paper will discuss the initial development of the image analysis technique and the preliminary application of the method to the reconstruction of Early Historic Indian Ocean networks of contact.  It will also introduce the current phase of this research, namely the expansion of the methodology and the widening of the dataset.


16:15 – 16:45 Break


16:45 – 17:15 Roberta Tomber (British Museum) Closing address and discussion


17:15 onwards – Reception

Eric Vallet

Maitre de conférences, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

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