The emergence and adoption of metallurgy is one of the seminal topics of investigation in the history of archaeology, particularly in the history of archaeological research in Southeast Asia. The site of Ban Chiang, Thailand, is a central site in debates surrounding the chronology and significance of early metallurgy in the region. This book is the first in a series of four volumes that review the contributions of Ban Chiang and three related sites in northeast Thailand excavated by the Penn Museum to an understanding early metallurgy in Thailand.
As the study of archaeometallurgy is a complex topic that draws on numerous technical and social science disciplines, this introductory volume presents in several chapters the background needed to assess the metal and related evidence presented in the subsequent volumes in this series. A history of perspectives on the role of metals in ancient societies generally and Southeast Asia, specifically, is provided. Other chapters debunk the conventional paradigm for understanding metals and society and provide current theoretical perspectives and new paradigms for the study of ancient metals. The geological basis for the presence and location of metal ore resources in the region is reviewed. The final chapter presents a technical overview of ways material properties of ancient metals may be studied. While providing a background to the study of metals at Ban Chiang, the volume also reviews, synthesizes, and repositions the method and theory for the study of archaeometallurgy generally.
Thai Archaeology Monograph Series, 2A; University Museum Monograph, 149