Crafting Funan: Pottery Production and Exchange from Pre Oc Eo to Oc Eo Periods (500 BCE - 700 CE)

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Friday 04 October 2019


Coombs Extension LT 1.04


Yi Jia Poh


Yi Jia Poh

500 BCE through 500 CE has been identified as a crucial time in the history of Southeast Asia. While some see it as an important period to further clarify long-lasting discussions of how the region transited from the Neolithic to Indic states such as Funan, others are interested in increasing variations and mixing of people groups, particularly pertinent are waves of rice cultivation communities migration from further north since the Neolithic and the Malayo-Chamic migration (500 BCE) to Central Coastal Vietnam. Oc Eo, the archaeological site said to be the thriving port city of Funan polity (~1 CE – ~700 CE) in Mekong Delta, saw its beginnings around 200 BCE, but appears rather suddenly in the archaeological record with rice cultivation, an axial layout and seemingly varied pottery traditions. Its relationship with neighbouring sites in East Nam Bo of Southern Vietnam, Central Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, particularly during the ‘Pre Oc Eo’ period (200 BCE – ~1 CE) needs to be further investigated to better understand Oc Eo’s rise as a port, people group migration patterns and Oc Eo’s early Indic influences. On the other hand, economic systems of production and exchange that constitute ‘Funan polity’ is still not well understood. This project proposes a diachronic treatment of the Oc Eo region and its surroundings spanning the Pre Oc Eo, Early Oc Eo (~1 CE – 300 CE) and Developed Oc Eo (300 CE – 700 CE) periods. Through pottery analysis, including assemblages comparison, typological sampling, compositional analysis and petrography, I aim to clarify technological traditions, used as proxies for people groups, that constituted Mekong Delta’s transition to urban settlement, as well as explicate economic patterns of production and exchange from Early Oc Eo through Developed Oc Eo to understand a facet of Funan’s urban economic exchange system.

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