A synthesis of bioarchaeological research in Cambodia: regional significance
Paper short abstract:
The Iron Age, antecedent to the rise of the Angkorian civilization, is characterized by increasing socio-political complexity, greater regional interaction and evidence for conflict. We consider how this has affected the health and quality of life of Iron Age communities across the region.
Paper long abstract:
Over the last 15 years, our team has excavated human skeletal remains from four significant cemetery sites in northwest Cambodia, dating to the Iron Age (c. 350 B.C.E. to 600 C.E.). Phum Snay (350 B.C.E. - 200 C.E.) and Phum Sophy (100-600 C.E.) are further west of Angkor than Phum Lovea (130-350 C.E.) and Prei Khmeng (20-550 C.E.); the latter two sites being just west of the West Baray in the Angkorian complex. This time period, antecedent to the rise of the Angkorian civilization, is characterized by increasing socio-political complexity, greater regional interaction, and evidence for conflict. While the excavated sample size is small, it is possible to look more holistically at the bioarchaeological data across these sites to place them in their regional Southeast Asian context. These four sites have revealed at least 66 individuals, both adult and subadult, though there is an aberrant deficit of subadult burials which has implications for assessing demography. However, the samples provide insights into the health and wellbeing of these four communities and we will focus here on presenting information on dental health, pathology, including the significant differences in trauma experienced by these groups, and other health parameters. These data will also be compared with contemporaneous sites from other parts of Southeast Asia to assess the impact of the Iron Age on human health in this region.
Addressing regional and world-scale archaeological questions through human bioarchaeology in Southeast Asia