Accepted paper:

Characterizing prehistoric ceramic bivalve casting molds from the Khao Wong Prachan Valley, central Thailand


Judy Voelker (Northern Kentucky University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper characterizes an assemblage of BVMs excavated from 3 prehistoric sites in central Thailand: Non Pa Wai, Nil Kham Haeng and Non Mak La. These sites comprise a major regional production center for raw copper and finished objects cast in BVMS that were traded across widely in prehistory.

Paper long abstract:

The Thailand Archaeometallurgy Project (TAP), a joint Thai-American initiative, has focused on the origins, development and societal impact of copper-base metallurgy in ancient Thailand. The copper industry present at 3 sites in Khao Wang Prachan Valley (KWPV) of central Thailand (Non Pa Wai, Nil Kham Haeng, Non Mak La) that were investigated by TAP comprise a major regional center for the production of raw copper and finished objects that were traded widely in prehistory. While technical ceramic artifacts that are part of the metal production process common at these sites include: crucibles, furnace chimneys, as well as ingot molds, this paper characterizes a different assemblage of technical ceramics, namely some five hundred, ceramic, bivalve casting molds (BVMs) that were excavated by TAP from three important prehistoric sites: Non Pa Wai, Nil Kham Haeng and Non Mak La. While ceramic bivalve casting molds were widely used throughout Southeast Asia in prehistory, in the KWPV there were used to cast finished copper-base artifacts such as socketed axes, blades, spear points, among other objects. This paper presents both intra and inter-site comparisons to better understand this localized example of the casting over time metal objects in the region of central Thailand and beyond.

panel P14
Recent advances in the archaeology of central Thailand