What's Cooking? An Archaeological Residue Analysis of Ceramics from Thailand
Residue analysis is a relatively new method of investigating the past, and an analysis of ceramic residues has never been undertaken in Southeast Asia. The purpose of this study was to determine whether this type of analysis could successfully be carried out in the Southeast Asian context. Following this, the aim was to, as accurately as possible, identify the sources of the ceramic residues. Sherds were collected from four sites in Thailand, Ban Non Wat, Ban Salao, Khok Phanom Di and Nong Nor. Residues were extracted from these sherds using a solvent in a Soxhlet apparatus. The extracted fatty acids were analysed using gas chromatography mass spectrometry in the Departments of Chemistry and Human Nutrition at the University of Otago. Carbon isotopic signatures were also obtained using gas chromatography isotope ratio mass spectrometry in the Department of Chemistry. The fatty acid results suggested an organic source for the residues from all the pots. The most likely food sources were plant, fish or mammal, or a combination of these. The 13C isotopic results showed that the most likely source was a C3 plant, or an animal feeding on these plants. The faunal data from the archaeological sites support these conclusions. In conclusion this study showed that residue analysis is a viable avenue of archaeological enquiry in Southeast Asia.
Advisor: Higham, Charles; Frew, Russell
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropology and Archaeology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Archaeology; Thailand; Residue analysis; Fatty acids; Isotopes
Research Type: Thesis