Accepted paper:

Evolution of glass ornament production and trade polities in the Upper-Thai Peninsula 500BC-500AD


Laure Dussubieux (The Field Museum)
Bérénice Bellina-Pryce (C.N.R.S (National Centre for Scientific Research))

Paper short abstract:

This presentation explores glass production, trade and use in the upper Thai-Malay Peninsula during the Iron Age and the early historical period looking at glass compositions.

Paper long abstract:

Recent research conducted by the 2011-2014 Thai-French Archaeological Mission in the Thai-Malay Peninsula found new evidence for glass ornament production, trade and use during the Iron Age and early historical period. Eleven sites located along different river systems, explored in order to gain a better understanding of the interactions between populations belonging to different environments (maritime, coastal and inland), yielded glass material including beads, bracelets and glass wastes. Depending on the types of glass found at a given site, a chronology can be proposed as well as a possible connection to a specific trade network. Two sites yielded evidence of glass ornament manufacturing. Glass bead and bracelet production dating to the 4th c-2nd c. BC was identified at the coastal port settlement of Khao Sek, bordering the River Langsuan. Strong similarities appear between this site and Khao Sam Khaeo, located 80 km north of Khao Sek, suggesting that both ornament producing centers were part of the same trading polities. Upstream the River Langsuan, at the confluence of the river Pak Soong, the mission identified other evidence of glass ornament production at the inland site of Ban Na Hyan. This production would have post-dated that of Khao Sek and Khao Sam Khaeo suggesting maybe a re-organization of the glass activities in this region after these two centers ceased their production with a fragmentation of the industry in smaller centers devoted to local markets. This shift could be due to a political reorganization, perhaps following the collapse of the main regional trading polities.

panel P18
Ancient ornaments around the South China Sea: style, technology, provenance and circulation