Asian Perspectives, vol. 45, no. 2 (2006)


The Occurrence of Cereal Cultivation in China, 129
Tracey L-D Lu

This paper examines the progress and remaining problems on the occurrence of cereal cultivation in China, which led to agriculture, and discusses some related theoretical issues. Based on currently available data, it is argued that the occurrence of cereal cultivation in China was associated with and related to the climatic and environmental changes after the last glacial epoch, the occurrence of new technology, including the manufacturing of pottery, and the adoption of a broad-spectrum subsistence strategy, whereas sedentism does not seem to be a prerequisite for this cultural change. The transition from hunting-gathering to agriculture in China seems to have been a gradual process, and foraging remained a subsistence strategy of the early farmers. The occurrence of cereal cultivation in China differed from that in other core areas, demonstrating the diversity of human cultures and contributing to our understanding of the origin and development of agriculture in the world.
Keywords: foraging to farming, cereal cultivation, prehistory, China.

Craft Production and Social Change in Mumun Pottery Period Korea, 159
Martin T. Bale and Min-jung Ko

This paper addresses the development of craft production in the Mumun Pottery Period (c. 1500 to 300 B.C.) of south-central Korea. Specialized craft production of greenstone ornaments, groundstone daggers, red-burnished pottery, and bronze objects was coeval with the onset of intensive agriculture. We examine the nature of this production in the settlement of Daepyeong, where social differentiation increased diachronically, notably in the Late Middle Mumun (700–550 B.C.). Specialized craft production appears to have originated as a supplement to intensive agriculture in the Early Middle Mumun (850–700 B.C.), when a mix of corporate and network strategies of competition between leaders existed but social differences between community members was deemphasized and consumption of prestige artifacts was limited. Evidence suggests that full-time leaders used the production and distribution of greenstone ornaments and long groundstone daggers in an incipient network strategy to gain power for themselves and their supporters in the Late Middle Mumun.
Keywords: archaeology, Korean Peninsula, specialized craft production, Mumun Pottery Period, social complexity, prestige artifacts, settlements.

Archaeology and Archaeozoology of Phum Snay: A Late Prehistoric Cemetery in Northwestern Cambodia, 188
Dougald J. W. O’Reilly, Angela von den Driesch, and Vuthy Voeun

This paper analyzes faunal remains excavated from the late prehistoric cemetery of Phum Snay in northwestern Cambodia. The material comprises two different components: (1) animal bones as grave goods and (2) bone fragments originating from settlement activities. The mammal and bird remains from the graves derive exclusively from domestic animals and include water buffalo, cattle, pigs, and possibly a chicken. In most cases, one or two limbs from the left side of the body of one or two species were deposited in a grave. Fish were also incorporated in the grave cult. The animal bones found in nonburial contexts reveal a broad-spectrum foraging economy that exploited a wide range of ecosystems: forests, grass- and marshlands, rivers, and inundated fields, resulting in the capture of deer, boar, smaller carnivores, cranes, tortoises, turtles, monitor lizards, crocodiles, and fish.
Keywords: animal bones, burial goods, economic activities, late prehistoric time, Cambodia.

Biological Responses to Change in Prehistoric Viet Nam, 212
Marc F. Oxenham

A bioarchaeological analysis of human remains from Con Co Ngua, a Da But culture period cemetery site in northern Viet Nam (n = 96), and an aggregated sample from 11 sites, mostly from the Red River delta region (n = 96) representing the emerging Metal period in the same region, is carried out. This study focuses on a range of skeletal and dental signatures of both health and behavior, including carious lesions, antemortem tooth loss, alveolar defects of pulpal origin, dental task wear facets, cribra orbitalia, linear enamel hypoplasia, trauma, and chronic infectious disease. The findings of reasonably good oral health may be reflective of a lack of agricultural products in the diet and/or the low cariogenicity of rice. The physiological health of the samples was found to be compromised, with an elevated mortality among younger individuals that expressed evidence of physiological disturbance as measured by cribra orbitalia and/or linear enamel hypoplasia. The nature and frequency of trauma in both periods was not necessarily indicative of specific behaviors, with general misadventure and interpersonal violence as competing causes. The evidence for chronic infectious disease is apparent only in the Metal period and may be related to a range of factors, some of which include the effects of migration, changes to land use patterns, and/or the evolution of increased pathogen virulence.
Keywords: Con Co Ngua, Da But period, Metal period, Viet Nam.

Characterizing the Stoneware “Dragon Jars” in the Guthe Collection: Chemical, Decorative, and Formal Patterning, 240
Carla M. Sinopoli, Stephen Dueppen, Robert Brubaker, Christophe Descantes, Michael D. Glascock, Will Griffin, Hector Neff, Rasmi Shoocongdej, and Robert J. Speakman

This paper presents a multifaceted study of a collection of stoneware ceramic vessels in the Guthe Collection of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan. These vessels, recovered in the Philippines but manufactured in multiple production sites across East and Southeast Asia, provide insights into premodern economic interactions and maritime trade. Our study of this collection drew on multiple approaches to identify coherent groupings of vessels associated with locations and traditions of production. These include instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) of pastes; laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LAICP-MS) of glazes; stylistic analysis of decorative motifs and their execution; and study of morphological attributes. Results of our analyses point to at least four production areas for these ubiquitous trade wares and lay the groundwork for future research on Southeast Asian maritime trade from the twelfth through nineteenth centuries A.D.
Keywords: Southeast Asia, ceramic classification, trade wares, dragon jars.


Current Research in Chinese Pleistocene Archaeology edited by Chen Shen and Susan G. Keats, 283
Reviewed by Erella Hovers

China before China: Johan Gunnar Andersson, Ding Wenjiang, and the Discovery of China’s Prehistory by Magnus Fiskesjö and Chen Xingcan, 287
Reviewed by Yun Kuen Lee

Bulletin of the International Jomon Culture Conference, Volume 1 edited by Richard Pearson, 290
Reviewed by Oki Nakamura

The Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective Gregory Possehl, 293
Reviewed by Monica L. Smith

Integrating Archaeology and Ethnohistory: The Development of Exchange between Yap and Ulithi, Western Caroline Islands by Christophe Descantes, 295
Reviewed by Rosalind L. Hunter-Anderson

Archaeological Investigations in the Mangareva Islands (Gambier Archipelago), French Polynesia edited by Eric Conte and Patrick V. Kirch, 299
Reviewed by Melinda S. Allen