Well-defined chronologies are crucial in understanding cultural change, yet precise and accurate frameworks are rare in the prehistoric record of SE Asia. This session aims to bring together dating information from various prehistoric sites, spanning the Palaeolithic to the Bronze Age of the region.
Chronology underpins most questions in prehistory, providing a framework on which to compare different technological and biological assemblages, and environmental records. These accurate frameworks are crucially important if we are to understand issues relating to human dispersals, adaptation, subsistence and the interaction between various populations living in the same region. Unfortunately, good chronologies are lacking from the prehistoric record of SE Asia. The establishment of reliable chronological frameworks in the tropics has proven very challenging, especially because preservation of organic material is often poor. Recent years have seen numerous exciting developments in chronology building. Existing techniques have been improved, for example, new pretreatment methods increased the accuracy of radiocarbon dating, and medium- to large-scale projects examining the chronologies of multiple sites or regions to answer single archaeological questions, undertaken through close collaboration between archaeologists and dating specialists, are becoming increasingly common and are often extremely fruitful. This session aims to explore issues regarding the chronology of SE Asian prehistoric sites from the Palaeolithic to the Bronze Age. Papers are invited on a wide range of chronometric applications including the use of new scientific methodologies in the dating of archaeological sites, the building of chronologies - both site-based and region wide, the integration of science and archaeology in the dating process, and on other similar themes in which dating is a key issue.