Regional specialization in Angkorian stoneware? A case study from Thnal Mrech and Sor Sei (Thmor Chul), Cambodia
Hannah Christina Arnhold
(University of Tübingen)
Rachna Chhay (APSARA Authorithy)
Miriam Stark (University of Hawai'i-Manoa)
Paper short abstract:
Defining the organization of craft production in ancient states provides an important tool for studying variation in political and economic control through time. This study focuses on the Angkorian state to compare frequencies of Khmer stoneware vessel forms in kilns from two production sites.
Paper long abstract:
Defining the organization of craft production in ancient states provides an important tool for studying variation in political and economic control through time. Little previous research in mainland Southeast Asia has focused on the organization of ceramic production, in contrast to resarch on earthenware production in the Philippines by Junker, Bacus, Niziolek, and others. White and Pigott (1996) documented a trend toward economic intensification and village-based specialization in prehistoric Thailand during the Iron Age. No evidence linked this specialized production to elite control in a context of growing social and political stratification in the last first millennium BCE. Recent research on Angkorian-period economic patterns suggests varying patterns of production organization. Little is known about the organization of Khmer stoneware production. This study compares frequencies of Khmer stoneware vessel forms from two excavated, 11th-12th century CE Khmer stoneware kiln sites: Thnal Mrech and Thmor Chul. Thnal Mrech and Thmor Chul produced green-glazed stoneware, known as Kulen ware, and unglazed stoneware. Both sites are located to the northeast of the Greater Angkor region. The goal of this research is to first identify the range of vessel forms and the most common vessel type produced at each site. We will then compare the frequencies of different vessel forms recovered from each kiln site to determine whether potters specialized in particular vessel types by community, or whether potters produced the same suite of vessel forms. The results will contribute to a better understanding of ceramic production patterns during the Angkor period.