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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

2 - Southeast Asia before History

from PART ONE - FROM PREHISTORY TO C. 1500 CE
Summary
Southeast Asia is a region of anthropological and archaeological complexity. This chapter considers the environment of the region and examines how it may have changed through time. It discusses the present-day environments, climate and vegetation, changing nature, early humans, archaeological record, and the expansion of agricultural communities of Southeast Asia. The record of human settlement in Southeast Asia extends back in time for about one million years. During that time the landscapes and climates of the region have fluctuated considerably, according to the cyclical rhythm of changes associated with the Pleistocene glaciations in temperate latitudes. Remains of early humans of the species Homo erectus have been recovered extensively in Java and China. The late prehistoric archaeological record from the islands of Southeast Asia differs markedly from that of the northern mainland. Evidence from comparative linguistics suggest that some Austronesian societies were at least lightly ranked, especially in Java where Austronesian chiefly titles to have been retained from prehistoric times.
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The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia
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  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521355056
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