Three more reviews of the Metals Monograph

The most detailed review yet of the first three volumes has been published by Anke Hein, a specialist in South China archaeology at Oxford University, in the leading journal Current Anthropology 62(5): 657-667, October 2021. She describes the content of every chapter of the first three volumes. She concludes by writing “Many of the series’ chapters, however, go far beyond what is needed to introduce the material or the analytical results, reviewing theories, suggesting new approaches and different points of view, and discussing principles and issues of archaeological research on technology more broadly. The volumes are thus of interest to a broader readership beyond scholars working in Southeast Asia or on early metallurgy in particular. They also show how even limited excavation areas and a single class of materials represented by a relatively small number of artifacts can provide deep insights into the actions of the people who produced and used them and even into patterns of human behavior more generally speaking. Indeed, they show clearly that the material from Southeast Asia can help question and make us rethink long-held assumptions about the connections between technological and societal developments as well as their embeddedness in local and regional geographies (including raw material availability).

Even newer is the review of 2C by Sîan Halcrow, a New Zealand bioarchaeologist specializing in Southeast Asia and Nigel Chang, a New Zealand archaeologist, in Asian Perspectives, 2021, 60(2):462-464. They write

This volume is a must-have for archaeologists and archaeology students working in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world as a theoretically-rich interpretive case study and regional synthesis that considers in detail social organization and community agency through the lens of metal analyses. It … will prompt new and energetic debate in the region. A contextualized and theoretically sophisticated appraisal of socio-economic organization is a welcome addition to the literature, particularly for researchers of prehistoric Southeast Asia, including bioarchaeologists, palynologists, and geoarchaeologists, who will benefit from a robust social background for their respective analyses and interpretation of data.

The most recent review, published in April 2022, is by Gonca Dardeniz in the Turkish journal Bulletin of the Mineral Research and Exploration, volume 167:209-214. She is an archaeologist specializing in Anatolia, and reviews each individual chapter in 2A, 2B, and 2C for its usefulness in interpreting archaeometallurgical remains from Anatolia.

First, the volumes put Southeast Asian metallurgy in a regional context, which should convince scholars in Turkey–and abroad–to concentrate on micro regional research while also keeping the global context in mind. Regardless of specific subject focus such as geology, geomorphology, archeology, or anthropology, any scholar interested in the field of archaeometallurgy will find a comparanda of their research in the TAM volumes. Second, the volumes, particularly TAM 2A, urge a shift from the linear cultural evolutionary model to the anthropological technology-driven model in the evaluation and interpretation of metallurgical data. This new model, which the editors of the volumes name the New Paradigm, is vital in obtaining a broader understanding and global vision of ancient Anatolian metallurgy.

We are excited that archaeologists from other areas of the world are finding our approach applicable to their new interpretations and understanding of their local archaeological record.

Here are links to Hein‘s, Halcrow and Chang‘s , and Dardeniz‘s reviews