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Cutting a Gordian Knot: the Bronze Age of Southeast Asia: origins, timing and impact

  • Charles Higham (a1), Thomas Higham (a2) and Amphan Kijngam (a3)

Extract

Two conflicting theories put the introduction of bronze into Southeast Asia 1000 years apart, one (before China) at 2000 BC, the other at 1000 BC. Both were drawn from radiocarbon dates, the first of pottery, the second of bone. The authors cut the Gordian Knot by showing the earlier dates to be unreliable — but their study has implications way beyond Thailand. The direct dating of pottery, it seems, is full of pitfalls…

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