War before Angkor: the evidential and theoretical context of warfare in prehistoric Thailand
Chetwin, James Nicholas
The role of warfare in prehistoric Thai lifeways has been a topic of debate, although no studies have specifically sought to investigate and explain prehistoric warfare in Thailand. Recent advocacy of the heterarchic paradigm has sought to de-emphasise the role of warfare in sociopolitical change. This thesis seeks to develop a regional understanding of structured violence in Thai prehistory by developing a specific preliminary model for military behaviour in a heterarchic milieu. An overview of definitions and anthropological theory on war is offered, as these issues are crucial to the debate over warfare in prehistoric Thailand. A methodology of military archaeology is developed and utilised to assess the evidence for warfare in the Thai Bronze and Iron Ages. Direct evidence for warfare in the Bronze Age is lacking, while the transition to the Iron Age is concomitant with a variety of changes in military technology and behaviour. There is evidence that warfare was a factor in the social environment of prehistoric Thailand. Though comparative data show that it was not as intense or specialised as that practised by the Dian and Dong Son cultures of northern Southeast Asia. A nonlinear model is proposed to account for the role of warfare in regionally specific historical hypotheses. The model is designed specifically to allow the construction of testable hypotheses in a heterarchic paradigm.
Advisor: Higham, Charles F. W.
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropology
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis