In comment on May 15, 2013 at 9:28 am
It’s been out there for a while, but I’d be deeply remiss if I failed to draw your attention to Dr. Alison Carter’s (UW-Madison) dissertation. In the spirit of actual intellectual exchange (sometimes called ‘Open Access’), she’s placed her dissertation online for download.
The dissertation is called “Trade, exchange, and socio-political development in Iron Age (500 BC - AD 500) mainland Southeast Asia: An examination of stone and glass beads from Cambodia and Thailand,” and it’s available here for download in various formats.
Dr. Carter has been doing archaeological research in Cambodia for years, and focuses on Iron Age trade objects – specifically beads. Through the analysis of these beads, she’s able to hypothesize about the geographical origins of the beads (because of the materials out of which they are made). Through understanding the geographical origins, she illuminates early trade networks – both within and beyond the boundaries of mainland Southeast Asia. Her work is deeply important to scholarship on a region, the prehistory of which is difficult to know because of a lack of preserved written texts (excepting inscriptions in stone).
Go! Read! And when you’re done, check out her great blog.
In cambodia, read on April 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm
I’ve just received a copy of John Burgess’ new novel, A Woman of Angkor, published by River Books. This book intends to be a historical novel that takes the regular people of the ancient Khmer kingdoms as seriously as most take the rulers.
It also comes highly recommended by folks with reputations, at least judging this particular book by the blurbs on its cover, including lauds from archaeologist Michael Coe, and art historian and Angkor tour guide author Dawn Rooney.
Most promising in terms of its writing style, however, is the lovely quote from John le Carre:
Burgess has done something that I believe is unique in modern writing: set a credible and seemingly authentic tale in the courts and temples of ancient Angkor to stir the imagination and excite our historical interest.
I’m looking forward to reading it in my spare free moments, and would love to hear from readers in the comments if they have read it, or might read it along with me.
The chapters are generally quite short, so I’m going to set very modest pace of 1-2 chapters a day. I’ll write up my comments below, as well.
edit: I’ve decided against summarizing in the comments below, both to preserve against spoilers, and to allow for a more summary writeup at the end.
In quote, religous studies on April 16, 2013 at 8:33 am
From the Ancientfoods weblog, this little gem from European monasteries:
“They placed these abbeys in all sorts of marginal areas to cultivate,” said study researcher Philippe De Smedt, a soil scientist at Ghent University in Belgium. In the High Middle Ages between the 12th and 14th centuries, Europe’s population was growing, De Smedt told LiveScience. Monk labor provided a solution to the crowding by making the land livable.
Indeed. Monks as agricultural pioneers is a bit of a trope through the world.
Robes and Shovels: Medieval Monks Cultivated Wetlands | Ancientfoods.