Sunday, February 26, 2017

[One-Day Workshop with Miriam Stark: Recap] Part II: Archaeology in Asia

One-Day Workshop with Miriam Stark
Part II: Archaeology in Asia

Speaker: Miriam STARK (Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)
Time: 3:30 – 6:30 pm, 17 Oct 2016 (Monday)
Venue: NAH401, Humanities Building, New Asia College, CUHK

Text: Cheng Jing Saichia (Research Assistant)

Prof. Miriam Stark and the participants of the workshop

In October, the Department of Anthropology invited Prof. Miriam Stark to give a public lecture and two workshops on
archaeology. The second workshop ‘Archaeology in Asia’ was held in the afternoon of 17 Oct 2016.

At the beginning of the workshop, Prof. Stark shared with the participants some recent archaeological discoveries in Southeast Asia. She highlighted the contributions of Southeast Asian archaeologists in questioning the existing human evolution hypothesis (the multiregional hypothesis and the out of Africa hypothesis) and the human migration in the Southeast Asia region throughout Pleistocene period. In particular, the ‘Flores Man’, found on the island of Flores in Indonesia, has been one of the important contributions to world archaeology made by the Southeast Asian archaeologists.

Apart from human evolution, Prof. Stark also talked about the useful findings of these archaeologists in tracing the origin of potteries and food production. For instance, the discovery of a historical pottery —— the production of which dates back to 1200 YBP —— has challenged the previous understanding about the origin of potteries and agriculture. Furthermore, early cultivation and plant domestication evidence found in Southeast Asia have assured the importance of archaeological work in Southeast Asia.

Prof. Stark emphasized that there is a lack of concern on Asian archaeology. There are insufficient archaeologists working in some of the Asia regions such as ‘North Barbarian’ (Xiongnu Empire) and ‘Southern Barbarian’ (Lingnan Region). She also pointed out that world history education has undervalued the importance of Asia history. For example, the Han Dynasty was as significant as the state of Rome; however, it is seldom mentioned in world history education. 

Prof. Stark answering questions of the participants

In the workshop, Prof. Stark also introduced the history of Cambodia and Angkor, especially the Angkor Empire, which had been the world largest pre-industrial city. Last but not least, Prof. Stark shared her own archaeological experience in Cambodia and encouraged people to join the Cambodia archaeological field school in the future.

Suggested Readings:
Stark, M. T. (2015). Southeast Asia, Archaeology of. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed., Vol. 23, pp. 63-69). Oxford: Elsevier.
Stark, M. T. (2014). The Archaeology of Early Modern South East Asia. In J. Symonds & V.-P. Herva (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Historical Archaeology. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

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