Pre-Angkor Cambodia: the transition from prehistory to history
Beckwith, Jacinta Anne
This study documents the archaeological data, epigraphical evidence and Chinese historical records for the development of the early states of Cambodia. Prior to the first century AD, significant information about Cambodia and Northeast Thailand is based upon inferences from archaeology. Most archaeological work has been undertaken in central and Northeast Thailand, central and southern Vietnam, while very little work has been done within Cambodia itself (Vickery 1998:18). Observations recorded by the Chinese appear from the first century, where visiting embassies and reports from Southeast Asia to the Chinese court were incorporated into official histories of succeeding Chinese dynasties. Chinese travellers visiting Cambodia in the third century also made accounts of their stay (Yung, 2000). Cambodian kings and dignitaries began to set up inscriptions to record their religious foundations towards the end of the 5th century AD (Higham, 2000:32). The inscriptions were written in Sanskrit, and in Old Khmer from 611 AD, and were for the most part engraved on monuments, door frames and walls associated with religious foundations. These records provide us with insight into the nature of kingship, political organization and socio-economic life of the Khmer in pre-Angkor times. Drawing upon the findings from archaeological excavations at the Bronze Age site of Ban Lum Khao, the Iron Age sites of Non Muang Kao, Noen U-Loke and Phum Snay, and the early historic site of Oc Eo, together with information offered by ancient Chinese Annals and an analysis of pre-Angkor inscriptions, it is contended that insight will be gained into the nature of society of pre-Angkor Cambodia, from the 1st to the early 9th centuries AD. Archaeological and historical data are synthesized for better comprehension of the Khmer cultural, religious, social and political life as the first states developed.
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropology
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
iv, 138 leaves ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Anthropology. "June 2002".