via Archaeological Research in Asia, 3 December 2020: Paper by Georjon et al. about a stone bead production site in Myanmar.
For many decades, the appearance of semi-precious stone ornaments in Mainland Southeast Asian late prehistoric assemblages was closely associated with external
actors: Taiwan and Island Southeast Asia in the case of nephrite, and South Asia in the case of carnelian. Carnelian beads in particular have long been held as a type
marker of early contact across the Bay of Bengal, from the mid-late 1st millennium BC. With this paper we demonstrate, from the central-northern Myanmar settlement
and cemetery sites of Oakaie and Nyaung’gan, not only the presence of semi-precious stone beads, but also their production during the Late Neolithic to
Early-Mid Bronze Age, late 2nd millennium to early-mid 1st millennium BC. We employed the chaîne op´eratoire technique to establish reliable links between the
industrial and funerary evidence, as represented by 489 finished beads and a vast quantity of production debris. The sites in question are chronologically-overlapping
and separated by only five kilometres, but such ornaments are found across the region and it is of fundamental importance to provide a solid foundation to expand
semi-precious stone ornament studies and unravel the complex networks of social interactions that led to their exchange.