Technologie céramique et frontières socio-culturelles aux Ages du Bronze et du Fer dans le Bassin du Mékong en Thaïlande et au Laos

par Sureeratana Bubpha

Projet de thèse en Archéologie - Ethnologie

Sous la direction de Bérénice Bellina.

Thèses en préparation à Paris 10 , dans le cadre de École doctorale Milieux, cultures et sociétés du passé et du présent , en partenariat avec Préhistoire et Technologie (laboratoire) depuis le 04-11-2020 .

  • Résumé

    Titre: La Technologie de la Céramique et les Limites Socio-Culturelles pendant l''Âge du bronze et l'Âge du fer dans le Bassin du Mékong en Thaïlande et au Laos La question de recherche s'efforce de savoir comment les technologies de la céramique seraient utilisées pour préciser les limites socio-culturelles pendant l''Âge du bronze et l'Âge du fer dans le Bassin du Mékong en Thaïlande et au Laos (1,000 BCE to CE 300), grâce à la preuve des technologies variables de la céramique. Pour diriger la recherche, on utilise les approches de la chaîne opératoire et de l'ethnoarchéologique.

  • Titre traduit

    Ceramic Technology and Socio-Cultural Boundaries during the Bronze and Iron Ages inthe Mekong Basin in Thailand and Laos

  • Résumé

    Research Project Title: Ceramic Technology and Socio-Cultural Boundaries during the Bronze and Iron Ages in the Mekong Basin in Thailand and Laos 1. Significance of the study Southeast Asia is a region well known as one of the richest in human diversity in the world. Plentiful evidence of past human activity has long been discovered in both the mainland and the archipelago. Cultural diversity in Southeast Asia begins from the earliest hunter-gatherer societies, which occupied the region for over 40,000 years, in some places continuing up to the present. However, in many places this was followed by a transition to agricultural communities, the Bronze and Iron ages, and the emergence of early states between approximately 300 BCE to CE 300. By CE 100-200 early states had begun to emerge in the Mekong and Chao Phraya river valleys and on the coastal plains of Viet Nam. Underlying the importance of Southeast Asia, the Mekong River, one of the world's great rivers, is especially significant in the cultural evolution of the neighboring countries of present-day Thailand and Laos. Many archaeological surveys and excavations, especially in the Khorat Plateau (Northeast Thailand, especially in the Songkhram River Valley of the Sakhon Nakhon Basin) and Laos (the areas around Luang Prabang, Hua Phan, and Xiang Khouang) have been carried out. These sites are remarkable for their pottery, bronze and iron objects, glass beads, skeletal remains, and animal bones, indicating the presence of agricultural villages. Exchange networks in these areas can be observed in the characteristics of their artifacts, especially ceramic attributes; decoration and form are often referred to as ways to characterize culture in terms of their similarities and differences. Specifically, a socio-cultural significance of Bronze and Iron Ages in the Khorat Plateau had been presented by their cultural materials. In the Bronze Age, various artefacts, for example, items made of oceanic raw materials, metallic item made by raw material from remote sources, indicated that a long-distance trade or exchange network developed. Moreover, there was a similarity which can be found from pottery attribute, among those from Bronze Age sites in northeast Thailand. Such socio-cultural phenomena kept progressively continuing from Bronze to Iron Ages. In particular, during the Iron Age, there were significant cultural change exemplified by the emergence of wet-rice cultivation as a response to a drier climate an increase of population number and group. This cultural development was also reflected by an increasing number of archaeological sites during the Iron Age along with more a greater diversity of ceramic types attribute. It has long been accepted that the emergence of early complex society along the banks of the Mekong River, particularly in Laos and northeast Thailand, took place during the Iron Age. Hence, focusing on Bronze and Iron Ages can potentially lead to a more comprehensive understanding on the cultural dynamic and its boundary, based on ceramics technology study. Characteristics of ceramic manufacture from each site can be specified and then suggest to see how they distribute across the landscape or geographical boundary across the Mekong River Basin. Socio-cultural boundaries are derived from something concrete, for example, presently, such boundary can be defined by spoken languages, political or religious systems. The technological analysis of ceramic in the Mekong River Basin is a means to define past socio-cultural boundary. Ceramic studies in the Khorat Plateau over the past decades have mainly focused on typology; very little consideration has been devoted to the study of the socio-cultural dimension. The Khorat Plateau (Northeast Thailand) and Laos are of particular interest since there still are active indigenous pottery making communities there. Consequently, employing ethnographic observation could enrich our understanding of ceramic production sequences and reconstructing the cultural transmission processes of socio-cultural boundaries within the region. The analysis of “socio-cultural boundaries” that can be ascribed to behavior, culture, time, and space will lead of a better understanding of cultural interaction in this study area. To sum up, I propose to combine the analysis of ceramic technologies and ethnoarchaeological studies to define socio-cultural boundaries from the Bronze Age to the Iron Ages (1,000 BCE to CE 300). In Southeast Asia, only a handful of studies of ceramics have been conducted on a regional scale. Consequently, this regional study focusing on the Mekong region will represent an important step for broader regional comparisons in Southeast Asia. 2. Research Questions The research question is based on how ceramic technologies can be used to define socio-cultural boundaries. In the present as in the Bronze and Iron ages of the Mekong Basin in Thailand and Laos (1,000 BCE to CE 300), there is copious evidence of different ceramic technologies, as well as styles and decoration of ceramics. My research question focuses on the use of ceramics to define and chart these boundaries. For this, I will explore these different technologies of production as well as style and decoration on the ceramics to attempt to ascertain these boundaries. 3. Research Methods This research project is based on developing an analysis of characteristics and attributes of “socio-cultural boundaries” are in the research area in terms of ceramic exchange and social and cultural transmission during the Bronze and Iron ages. The questions directing this study of ceramic archaeological assemblages and related factors are as follows: 1. To analyze these assemblages by the chaîne opératoire approach. 2. To analyze these assemblages by scientific methods (e.g. Petrographic Analysis, XRD, XRF, SEM, etc.) that will be conducted in both Thailand (Ubon Ratchathani Univerity) and France (University of Paris-Nanterre). 3. To study/enhance archaeological assumptions by employing ethnoarchaeological contributions that can be aided in understanding the ways of ceramic manufacturing. 4. Sources Sources and data for this research project will be divided into 2 groups: 3.1 Archaeological samples This research project focuses on the study of social boundaries in the Mekong Basin investigated by ceramics analysis. It combines excavated Bronze-Iron Ages archaeological sites located in the research area, laboratory analysis, and ethnoarchaeological methods. The samples are already available in Thailand and Laos as collections belonging to different research institutions. - Fine Arts Department (FAD), Thailand: mainly focused on the northern part of Northeast Thailand, which is notable for Ban Chiang Cultural Traditional Sites (e.g., Ban Chiang, Ban Dung, Ban Pone, Ban Don Thong Chai, Ban Kok Khon, Wat Naga Devi, etc.) - Department of National Heritage, Laos: mainly focused on the excavated sites from the Middle Mekong Archaeological Project (MMAP), the collaboration project between University of Pennsylvania, US, and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Laos (i.e., Phou Phaa Khao Rock shelter, Tham Vang Ta Leow, Tham Sua, and Tham An Mah) 3.2 Ethnographic data In addition to ethnographic data already available (Cort & Lefferts and Kobayashi research materials), ethnographic fieldwork will also be carried. Some traditional pottery making villages in Northeast Thailand and Laos will be selected, such as: -Traditional pottery making villages in Northeast Thailand (e.g. Ban Don Chic) -Traditional pottery making villages in Northern Laos (e.g. Ban Chan), Southern Laos (e.g. Ban Sapuan). 5. Time and Impact My research project is expected to run from September 2020 to September 2023 (a 3-year plan) and is expected to be under the supervision of the main/co-supervisors at the University of Paris-Nanterre, France. Year 1: Sep-Dec 2020/Jan-Aug 2021 1.Documentary research and literature review for framework and methodology developing, research design, etc. 2. Documentary research and literature review on ceramic studies during the Bronze and Iron Ages in the Sakhon Nakhon Basin, NE Thailand and Laos 3.Participation of the Ceramics Seminar at the University of Paris-Nanterre, France 4.Collecting data of ceramic assemblages kept in the Thai Fine Arts Department 5.Collecting data of ceramic assemblages in Laos (through the MMAP) 6. Writing up Year 2: Sep-Dec 2021/Jan-Aug 2022 1.Collecting ceramics samples in both Thailand and Laos 2.Ceramic analysis (laboratories) 3.Studying and researching (data analysis and synthesis, laboratories) at the University of Paris-Nanterre, France 4.Writing up Year 3: Sep-Dec 2022/Jan-Aug 2023 1.Writing up 2.Ethnographic fieldwork (pottery making villages will be selected from both Northeast Thailand and Laos) 3.Studying and researching (data analysis and synthesis, writing up) at the University of Paris-Nanterre, France 4.Preparing for a PhD viva 5.Submit the PhD thesis 6. Key References The publications in the list below are some of the key references which cover the relevant theories and methods in the study of ceramics, e.g.: Arnold, Dean E. 1985. Ceramic Theory and Cultural Process. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bellina, B. (ed.) 2017. Khao Sam Kaeo: an early port-city between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Bellina, B. 2018. “The development of maritime Trade Polities and diffusion of the “South China Sea Sphere of Interaction pan-regional culture”: the Khao Sek excavations and industries' studies contribution. Archaeological Research in Asia 13, p. 1-12.Bubpha, Sureeratana. 2003. “A Comparative Study of Ceramic Petrography from Ban Don Thong Chai and Ban Chiang” Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association; BIPPA, Vol.23 Indo Pacific Prehistory: The Taipei papers (Vol.1). 15-18. Edited by Peter Bellwood, Doreen Bowdery, Richard,Pearson, and Judy Voelker. Canberra: Australian National University. Bubpha, Sureeratana, Korakot Boonlop, and Sittisak Rungchareonsuksri. 2012.“Ceramic Technology in Ban Chiang Cultural Tradition Sites, Northeastern Thailand”, in, Unearthing Southeast Asia's Past: Selected Papers from the 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists. Vol.1, ed. By Veronique Degroot and Marijke J. Klokke. Singapore: National University of Singapore (NUS Press PTE LTD). Gibson, Alex, and Ann Woods. 1997. Prehistoric Pottery for the Archaeologist. 2nd ed. London: Leicester University Press. Cort, Louise Allison, and Leedom Lefferts 2012 “Pots and How They Are Made in Mainland Southeast Asia”. Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society (London), 75 (2010): 1-15 Kim, Nam.C. 2013. « Lasting Monuments and Durable Institutions: Labor, Urbanism, and Statehood in Northern Vietnam and Beyond ». Journal of Archaeological Research 21 (3): 217 67. Longacre, William A., and James M. Skibo, ed. 1994. Kalinga Ethnoarchaeology. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. Matson, F. R. 1965. “Ceramic ecology: An approach to the study of the early culture of the Near East.” In Ceramics and Man. no. 41, 202-217. Edited by F. R. Matson. Chicago: Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology. Rice, Prudence M. 1987. Pottery Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago. Roux, Valentine. 2016. “Ceramic Manufacture: The chaîne opératoire Approach.” In the Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Ceramic Analysis. Edited by Alice Hunt. Oxford: Oxford University. Roux, Valentine (coll. M.-A. Courty). 2019. Ceramics and Society. A technological Approach to Archaeological Assemblages. Springer Nature. Shepard, Anna O. Ceramics for the Archaeologist. 1971. 6th ed. Washington, D. C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington. Stark, Miriam T. 1994. “Pottery exchange and the regional system: A Dalupa case study.” In Kalinga Ethnoarchaeology, 169 – 197. Edited by William A. Longacre and James M. Skibo. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. Sureeratana Bubpha. 2001. “The Ethnoarchaeological Study of Ceramic Ecology at Ban Hua Bueng, Khon Kaen Province”. A thesis submitted for the Master Degree of Arts (Prehistoric Archaeology), Department of Archaeology, Silpakorn University. Sureeratana Bubpha. 2008. “Ceramics and Human: Based on Ceramic Ecology Approach”, in, Human and Ceramics: Past to Present, ed. By Koraot Boonlop. Bangkok: The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre, pp. 53-91. (In Thai) Sureeratana Bubpha. 2010. “An Ethnoarchaeology of Ceramic Ecology”, in, Thammasat Journal, 29 (1) Jan-Jun: 118-151. (In Thai) Sureeratana BUBPHA, Masashi KOBAYASHI, and Keiichi TOKUSAWA. 2015. “Ethnic Group and Traditional Ceramics Production in Attapeu, Lao PDR”, in, Proceedings of the 9th UBU Conference, Ubon Ratchathani University. Ubon Ratchathani: Ubon Ratchathani University Press, pp. 83-97. (In Thai, English abstract)