Charles F. W. Higham
Farming in Southeast Asia is dominated two major crops, rice and millet, and domestic pigs, cattle, water buffalo, chickens, and dogs. The domestication of these species took place in China, and the first farmers began to settle Southeast Asia in the early second millennium bc. They integrated with the indigenous hunter-gatherers, and were heavily reliant not only on their crops and domestic animals, but also on hunting, gathering, and fishing. An agricultural revolution took place during the Iron Age, involving plough agriculture in permanent fields. Ownership of improved land would have stimulated the rise of social elites and dependent craft specialists, factors underlying the rapid formation of early states.
Sue O'Connor and David Bulbeck
This article examines the archaeology of the Pacific Islands. It describes the three parts of the Pacific Islands including Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and explores the issues concerning the use of material culture, land, and power in a comparative sense, focusing on the last millennium as a period of crucial change. It argues that the distinction between inter-group and emblematic languages in the form that it can be recognized today has a relatively recent history, coeval with that of the trading systems central to the production of social diversity.
The Persistence of Hunting and Gathering Amongst Farmers in South-East Asia in Prehistory and Beyond
Ryan Rabett and Sacha Jones
Significant demographic, economic, social, and technological shifts occurred in south and South East Asia from the onset of the Holocene set against profound environmental restructuring. In South Asia, some areas became more humid and wet; in South East Asia the deglacial rise in sea levels dramatically altered the region’s geography. Each impacted on the survival, distribution, and density of hunter-gatherer populations, but it also sparked innovation. In South Asia there was an increase in seasonally sedentary occupation and a trend in some areas towards incipient agriculture. In South East Asia, pre-existing practices appear to have been intensified, coastal resources became prominent, and there was a new emphasis on arboreal prey. Across these neighbouring regions new forms of technology, changes in social structure, and symbolic expression accompanied these adaptive shifts, each making their appearance during this time, as new responses mixed with old traditions to meet new challenges.
Paul S.C. Taçon
This chapter discusses the rock art of South and East Asia, with particular emphasis on India, China, and Southeast Asia. It begins with an overview of early research and first discoveries of rock art in China, India, and various parts of Southeast Asia such as Indonesia and Malaysia. It then considers the range of techniques employed in the region, including painting, drawing, stencilling, printing, engraving, and bas-relief, as well as the subject matter and dating attempts. It also examines a number of key rock art–related issues that need to be addressed across India, China, and Southeast Asia, as well as concerns for different regions; these include the problem of regionalism, contact period rock art, and conservation and management. The chapter concludes by assessing the global significance of South, Southeast, and East Asian rock art, especially with respect to human diversity, cultural change, migration, and natural landscapes.