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Talk: Temple Economy and the Pre-Angkorian State Formation

October 5, 2017 @ 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

photo of speaker, Piphal Heng, PhD candidate

In the Fall 2017 semester, the UHM Department of Anthropology will be offering a colloquia series. Each will be held Thursday at 3:00PM in Crawford Hall 115 on the scheduled date unless otherwise noted. Reception to follow talks scheduled for Crawford Hall.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

When & Where

THURSDAY, October 5, 3:00pm, Crawford Hall 115

About the Talk

Monumentality and institutionalized religion are hallmarks of sociopolitical complexities associated with chiefdoms and states. Besides the ideological and political symbolism of the monumental architecture, written records indicate that their economic aspect, temple economy, was prominent among early civilizations from Mesopotamia to South and Southeast Asia. This paper explores the relationship between temple economy and the pre-Angkorian state. Documentary sources suggest that state emerged in the middle and lower Mekong regions by c. 6th century CE where the Chinese documents describe the rise of the Chenla kingdom. This period also marked the appearance of a suite of new traditions including brick temples, elaborate Indic statuary, and Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions associated with these temples. The Cambodia middle Mekong region offers a window to this process of state development by synthesizing the archaeological evidence (settlement patterns, and chronometrically-anchored ceramic traditions and brick temples) with the epigraphic evidence of temple economy and an economic model derived from ethnographic research and historical documents.

About the Speaker

Piphal Heng is currently a PhD candidate at UHM-Department of Anthropology. Heng’s interests lie in archaeological political economy, settlement patterns, state formation, and ceramic production and consumption. Cross-trained in history, epigraphy, and art history at the Cambodia Royal University of Fine Arts, Heng is interested in a multidisciplinary approach to study changes in the sociopolitical and economic system in Cambodia relative to other states in Southeast Asia.


October 5, 2017
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
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Department of Anthropology
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