Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk by Dr Joyce White happening at the Siam Society next week.
Ban Chiang Metal Age Economy and Its 21st Century Implication
Date: 16 January 2020
Time: 7 pm
Venue: Siam Society
Ban Chiang is renowned for its early metallurgy, even if dates are debated. How to interpret the metals’ evidence in terms of their technology and social roles? The place metals had in prehistoric societies is another area of scholarly debate. While ‘getting into the weeds’ of the data over many years, White came to appreciate the decentralised system for the production and distribution of metal products in prehistoric Thailand. This decentralised economic structure contrasts with conventional interpretations of ancient metals that emphasise centralised, ‘top-down’ perspectives. White developed a ‘bottom up’ framework for interpreting Ban Chiang’s and Thailand’s prehistoric metallurgy, based on the economic ‘law of comparative advantage.’ The same law underlies the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP, one of the world’s largest free-trade deals) and even Thailand’s OTOP (one tambon, one product) initiative. Come hear the story of how the study of prehistoric Thailand’s metals is upending the conventional paradigm for understanding the social role of ancient metals.