In the spring of 1970, tired of the chilly Philadelphia winters where I was studying archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania, I arranged to spend a semester at the University of Hawai'i. There I enrolled in Professor Wilhelm G. Solheim II's course inthe prehistory of Southeast Asia. Bill Solheim — a colorful character if ever there was one, with his handle-bar mustache and endless anecdotes — was just then stirring up the sleepy field of Southeast Asian archaeology and prehistory. Together with his graduate students Chet Gorman and Don Bayard, Bill was making all kinds of startling claims about thecourse of cultural evolution in what most scholars had taken to be a secondary backwater: evidence for strikingly early plant domestication from Spirit Cave, precocious advances in bronze metallurgy at Non Nok Tah, and similar claims. At the time, Peter Bellwood, then based at the University of Auckland, was still focused on research among the islands of eastern Polynesia. But Peter saw the exciting developments coming out of Southeast Asia and soon decamped to The Australian National University in Canberra. Out of this new base he began his long and fruitful career of fieldwork in island Southeast Asia, and as the preeminent synthesiser of the region's prehistory.