THE CHRONOLOGY AND STATUS OF NON NOK THA, NORTHEAST THAILAND

Charles Franklin Higham, Thomas F. G. Higham, Katerina Douka

Abstract


 

Excavations at Non Nok Tha, in Northeast Thailand in 1965-1968 revealed for the first time in Southeast Asia, a stratigraphic transition from the Neolithic into the Bronze Age. Based on conventional charcoal radiocarbon determinations, early reports identified fourth millennium bronze casting. The proposed length of the prehistoric sequence, and the division of the Neolithic to Bronze age mortuary sequence into at least 11 phases, has stimulated a series of social interpretations all of which have in common, a social order based on ascriptive ranking into at least two groups which saw increased hierarchical divisions emerge with the initial Bronze Age. This paper presents the results of a new dating initiative, based on the ultrafiltration of human bones. The results indicate that the initial Neolithic occupation took place during the 14th century BC. The earliest Bronze Age has been placed in the 10th centuries BC. These dates are virtually identical with those obtained for the sites of Ban Chiang and Ban Non Wat. Compared with the elite early Bronze Age graves of Ban Non Wat, Non Nok Tha burials display little evidence for significant divisions in society.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7152/jipa.v34i0.14719

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