Doubts on diffusion: Challenging the assumed Indian origin of Iron Age agate and carnelian beads in Southeast Asia

Citation
R. Theunissen et al., Doubts on diffusion: Challenging the assumed Indian origin of Iron Age agate and carnelian beads in Southeast Asia, WORLD ARCHA, 32(1), 2000, pp. 84-105
Citations number
39
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Archeology
Journal title
WORLD ARCHAEOLOGY
ISSN journal
0043-8243 → ACNP
Volume
32
Issue
1
Year of publication
2000
Pages
84 - 105
Database
ISI
SICI code
0043-8243(200006)32:1<84:DODCTA>2.0.ZU;2-Z
Abstract
Iron Age agate and carnelian beads found in Southeast Asia have long been a ssumed to be Indian imports, often featuring in diffusion-orientated theori es of Southeast Asian state development that cite Indian influence as a maj or causal factor. The origin of these beads is tested here, through a pione ering non-destructive geochemical sourcing study of carnelian beads and pot ential source material. Our results suggest that many of these beads do not derive from India. Instead, a complex multi-source origin, involving some local Southeast Asian manufacture, appears likely. This finding further ero des the already crumbling foundation of diffusion-based theories of Southea st Asian state development. An alternative, regionally focused, approach to the study of these beads is recommended using geochemical analysis to help trace their trade within Southeast Asia. This will enable a better underst anding of their role in, and impact upon, existing prestige goods exchange networks within the region.