Trade, Exchange, and Socio-Political Development in Early Historic Cambodia: An Examination of Stone and Glass Beads


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Dissertation Fellowships (North America)




The Mekong Delta region of Cambodia and Vietnam was home to one of the earliest complex polities in mainland Southeast Asia, known to the Chinese as the Funan civilization. It was in this region that two of the earliest cities in Southeast Asia emerged: Angkor Borei in Cambodia and Oc Eo in Vietnam. Scholars have often attributed the development of complex societies in Southeast Asia to interaction with South Asia, an important trading partner. While trade was a key factor in the development of polities like Funan, the influence and impact from South Asia is poorly understood. This dissertation research fills this gap by more closely examining trade and exchange networks within Cambodia, within Southeast Asia, and between Southeast Asia and South Asia through a study of stone and glass beads. It focuses on the trade of stone and glass beads as a potential indicator of socio-political and economic organization.