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Archaeological excavations in protohistoric Brunei




Matussin bin Omar

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Canberra, ACT : The Australian National University


The main purpose of this study is to analyse the archaeological materials recovered from two sites in Brunei - Kupang and Sungai Lumut . The emphasis is mainly on the locally-produced earthenware pottery, and to a lesser extent on the 10th-17th century imported ceramics. Certain aspects of the local pottery, particularly fabrics, decoration and vessel types are analysed in this preliminary attempt. Also, a comparative study is made between the Kupang local pottery and other assemblages from Sarawak, Malaya and Hong Kong. This comparison yields a distribution pattern of closely related local pottery which covers an area that extends from Borneo to South China, in a period roughly contemporary with the Sung to early Ming periods. A hypothesis stressing contacts through trade is put forward to explain the distribution of this local pottery, since it is always associated with imported ceramics of Chinese and Siamese origin. This hypothesis is further justified by historical records and ethnographic evidence. A general survey of the distributions of Chinese and Siamese trade ceramics (of Sung-Ming dates) in Southeast Asia is also attempted here, and there is a possibility that some types of local earthenwares were involved in this trade, perhaps as containers for the transport of Borneo products. In short, this study attempts to use archaeological data for the illumination of historical events.






Thesis (Masters sub-thesis)

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Open Access

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