This panel seeks papers challenging assumptions about the complex Man:metal interactions thought to shape Southeast Asia's historical trajectory from the Bronze Age to the present day by drawing on the increasingly rich regional database for metal production, exchange and consumption behaviours.
This panel seeks papers challenging assumptions about the complex Man:metal interactions thought to shape Southeast Asia's historical trajectory from the Bronze Age to the present-day by drawing on the increasingly rich regional database for metal production, exchange and consumption behaviours. These data encourage new thinking on transmission mechanisms and the socio-economic and environmental impacts of metallurgy:
- How and why did some regional populations adopt and innovate with metal technologies over the last 3+ millennia? What factors may have catalysed and inhibited technological behaviours? Are there any long-terms patterns particular to Southeast Asia?
- Can we evaluate metallurgy's transformative role, if any, on agriculture, architecture, craftsmanship, markets, performing arts, hunting, sculpture and warfare?
- How strong is the link between metallurgy and Southeast Asian social complexity? Did iron 'democratise' metal (sensu V.G. Childe) in the regional context, contrasting greater availability of raw materials with a wider range of required technical competencies?
- What was metallurgy's role in linking Southeast Asia to neighbouring regions, via the long-distance movement of raw materials, finished goods, techniques, artisans, coinage, scrap or iconography?
- What was the cost of metallurgy, in terms of wealth distribution, resource management, territoriality or atmospheric/soil/water pollution?
- What methodologies are most appropriate for studying metal artefacts and production remains and reconstructing past metallurgical practices in Southeast Asia?
Southeast Asia's confluence of ethnocultural, geological and technological diversity ensure the region retains a wealth of archaeometallurgical interest in its own right and can be developed as an important source for global analogy.