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Archaeobotany: Evidence of Exchange Networks and Agricultural Practices

Castillo, C; (2017) Archaeobotany: Evidence of Exchange Networks and Agricultural Practices. In: Bellina, B, (ed.) Khao Sam Kaeo: An Early Port-City between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. (pp. 425-462). Ecole Francaise D'Extreme Orient

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Southeast Asia is lagging behind other regions of the world in the study of archaeological plant remains or archaeobotany. However, there are now several archaeobotanical studies that have contributed to the discussion of agricultural evolution in the region. One such study is the archaeobotany of Khao Sam Kaeo. Tis urban site dates to the Metal Age and was an important entrepôt situated between several spheres of contact, South Asia to the west and to the east, China and the South China Sea. Te results fom fve years of archaeobotanical research show movements of plants fom the east and the west. It provides the frst evidence of Indian pulses into Southeast Asia and together with the material culture found, archaeobotany contributes complementary evidence of early movements of people along exchange routes through the study of the crops people brought along with them. Te primary purpose of examining the archaeobotanical results fom Khao Sam Kaeo is to add to the understanding of how an early urban site with an active exchange network and specialised craf production would have supported itself. Tese results provide insights into the agricultural base that sustained the diferent communities at this Prehistoric urban site: the local population, temporary settlers and transient voyagers. Te main fndings of the study show that at Khao Sam Kaeo, the population relied on rice. However, due to contact with foreign communities, there was also a component of South Asian pulses and cash crops, as well as some evidence of foxtail millet. Furthermore, the examination of weed fora associated with rice helped defne the system of land use at Khao Sam Kaeo as a dryland cultivation regime. Because there are very few archaeobotanical studies in Mainland Southeast Asia, the information derived fom this study adds to the understanding not only of how an early urban site supported itself, but also adds to the wider discussion of regional agriculture, exchanged foodstufs, origins of agriculture and movements of crops (especially rice and millet).

Type: Book chapter
Title: Archaeobotany: Evidence of Exchange Networks and Agricultural Practices
Publisher version: https://www.efeo.fr/base.php?code=88
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060942
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