Exploring Suvarṇabhūmi Through a Multidisciplinary Approach

Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University

Suvarṇabhūmi, or the so-called “Golden Land” (mid-1st millennium BCE to the 1st millennium CE) has long been a subject of debate. Exploring epigraphic and archaeological data, the study of this fabled name of Southeast Asia encompasses not only the questions of its origins, definitions, and locations, but also the socioeconomic and political impacts of the Indian Subcontinental traditions on Southeast Asian late prehistoric foundation, leading to the adoption of new traditions and emergence of early states. However, addressing the questions of Suvarṇabhūmi is still largely considered in isolation or emphasising mainly on literacy, epigraphic, and material culture, while overlooking the multifaceted nature of Suvarṇabhūmi.

Moving beyond this common context, a multidisciplinary framework offers an alternative to explore the full extent of Suvarṇabhūmi through a consideration of epigraphic studies, ethnography, linguistics, craft technologies (ceramic, metals, glass, and textiles), geoarchaeology, spatial analysis, bioarchaeology, and genetic studies. This panel welcomes papers proposing new means to examine different facets of Suvarṇabhūmi - its people (and movement), languages, settlement patterns, technologies, etc. and serve as a platform for discussions on how these multiple actors facilitate the development of Southeast Asia during this transition period from the Iron Age to the rise of early states.