Studying the present to unfold the past
Hermine Xhauflair (Muséum national d'histoire naturelle)
Julien Corny (Aix-Marseille Université)
Salle 211 G MAE
Start time:
10 July, 2015 at 9:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This session aims to explore how studying modern populations who now inhabit Southeast Asia can shed a new light on the remains of the Past and help us to understand what took place in the region during the past millennia.

Long abstract:

Present-day Southeast Asia has been partly shaped by the actions, deliberate or not, of humans during the past millennia. It includes the way that different populations occupy the territory (biologically and culturally), the configuration of the environment in which they live and its composition in plant and animal taxa available. These are the results of human migrations and adaptations, interactions between groups, landscape modifications and prolonged utilisation, protection, exchanges and translocations of resources.

If continuities can be highlighted, the History and Prehistory of Southeast Asia have also been marked by ruptures and discontinuities. Nevertheless, the expertise of modern local communities in specific fields such as plant use or hunting strategies is great and can help us shed a new light on the archaeological data. Transfers from one period to another can be made when grounded on universals, for instance the physical properties of materials, which are not dependant of a specific context. In the field of biological anthropology, patterns of diversity and affinities of present-day inhabitants is useful for investigating the population history in the region.

This session aims at bringing together researchers who are interested in discussing how the present situation of Southeast Asia can help to understand its Past and welcomes contributions in a variety of fields including archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, ethnohistory, ethnology, linguistics, history of art, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, physical anthropology and population genetics.