The wet and the dry, the wild and the cultivated: subsistence and risk management in ancient Central Thailand

TitleThe wet and the dry, the wild and the cultivated: subsistence and risk management in ancient Central Thailand
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGuedes J.D, Hanson S., Higham C., Higham T., Lertcharnrit T.
Date Published2019/10
Type of ArticleArticle; Early Access
ISBN Number1866-9557
Accession NumberWOS:000497189700001
Keywordsagriculture; Anthropology; archaeobotany; archaeology; archive; diversity; food plants; Geology; iron-age; lake kumphawapi; origins; Rain-fed farming; rice; thailand; Weeds; Wild plant foods; yield; Yield gaps
Abstract

Increasing the productivity and yield of rice in Central Thailand has been a key focus of international and local government policy. Efforts have centered around producing a second winter season of irrigated rice. However, a series of droughts in the region have led to widespread crop failure. We carry out a re-evaluation of weather station and environmental data and combine this with new information from a key archeological site in Central Thailand, Phromthin Tai, whose occupation covers a long and critical period of Thai prehistory. Based on these data, we argue that farmers in the area employed an adaptive and resilient agricultural and wild-plant-food-based subsistence system that was adapted to the region's high variability in rainfall. This subsistence system bridged the divide between the wild and cultivated and between wet and dry farming. The temporal and spatial diversity inherent in this system makes it vulnerable to destruction by agricultural policies that focus singly on improving yields.

DOI10.1007/s12520-019-00794-8
Student Publication: 
No
Research Topics: 
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