Early Civilizations of Southeast Asia (Archaeology of Southeast Asia)
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As one who taught South East Asian archaeology for nearly thirty years, I can say that a book such as this would have been a most useful text and teaching aid. I am impressed by the wide-ranging and careful scholarship shown by Dr. O'Reilly and his evaluation of often difficult and sometimes contradictory evidence from historical sources, ethnology, inscriptions and field archaeology. -- Ian Glover, Institute of Archaeology, University College London
The work will have wide appeal...the book offers a thorough compilation of recent research in Southeast Asian archaeology. Summing Up: Recommended. ― CHOICE, January 2008
Early Civilizations of Southeast Asia highlights research on the pre- and protohistoric societies of Southeast Asia, with a focus on Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam. The civilizations of Southeast Asia have a long and storied history, resulting in the region's complexity in ethnic and linguistic groups. O'Reilly highlights the archaeology and historical research undertaken in the region, both classic and contemporary, to provide a general picture of the events that shaped early Mainland Southeast Asia. -- John Miksic, Asia Research Institute, University of Singapore
About the Author
- Publisher : AltaMira Press (December 21, 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0759102791
- ISBN-13 : 978-0759102798
- Item Weight : 14.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.85 x 0.67 x 8.96 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,232,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I am still using it (AGAIN- 3 years later), to assist me in writing an essay on Indian modernism.
Absolutely no doubts about this book.
Dr. Dougald O'Reilly is a masterful writer, easy to read yet abundant in information about ancient sites, history and cultural finds. This kind of book is only written by an expert in their field, evidencing such a wide range of knowledge of the different countries. Yet O'Reilly is still young in his career! I have read books that spend chapters and chapters covering what he can accomplish in a page and a half of concise and graceful prose. This book has a genius of organization at its core, in a field where disorganization and lack of knowledge has reigned for too long.
He tackles the Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese ancient scene with aplomb!
Well done, Dr. O'Reilly! More, more!
O'Reilly holds that the well-known Southeast Asian polities of the first millennium C.E. but Chenla were chiefdoms. He believes they were `exclusionary' or `individualizing' that means monopolizing of sources of power by an individual. The `Indianization' of Southeast Asia passed through two main stages. During the first one which dates from the fourth century B.C.E. to the second century C.E., foreign artifacts such as glass and stone beads and Indian-style ceramics appeared in Southeast Asia. They serve as the tokens of symbolic power and possibility to obtain them through long-distance exchange. During the second period which covers the second - the fourth centuries C.E. the number of objects increased considerably but their diversity decreased. The adoption of Indian beliefs, art styles, writing, political and social concepts also took place during this epoch.
O'Reilly supposes that `the process of "globalization" began in the early centuries of the first millennium C.E. At this juncture of civilizations from North Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Mediterranean Basin became involved in a vast trade and exchange network' (p. 199).
I think, by the way, that the label of the monograph is misleading because it concerns the mainland Southeast Asia only. If you want to know how early Indonesian polities evolved this book gives you no data except some remarks on Srivijaya (pp. 59-61). Unfortunately, they also partially misleading. For example, O'Reilly writes that `in 683 C.E. the king [of Srivijaya] launched a military expedition upriver from Palembang' (p. 60). The available inscriptions, however, tell another story: In 682 the king undertook a campaign with twenty thousands men but we do not know where whereas the Kota Kapur inscription dated from 686 C.E. mentions an expedition against the land of Java but we do not know what land is meant there and how many people made up an army. What occurred in 683 C.E. is unknown.
I highly recommend the monograph by O'Reilly to anyone who studies the history of Southeast Asia. It will be very useful for investigation of political developments of the mainland.