SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

Mapping Agglomeration in Early Mainland Southeast Asia

Phacharaphorn Phanomvan (University of Oxford)

Date: 13 February 2019Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 13 February 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4429

Type of Event: Seminar


Historiography explores the symbolic relationship between cities, political structures, and cultural lives. Economic power and integration of early polities are identified by scholars as part of cultural and political narratives. While scholars emphasise subsistence production levels in pre-modern society, they also identified trade as the key growth driver for local power and wealth. To date, there is no data analysis to support the significance of commercial activities and urban growth in early Southeast Asia. This research collates archaeological data from Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand and maps out the economic landscapes and activities of different settlements. The aim is to provide basic statistics on economic activities in early Southeast Asia, as well as map out the economic boundaries and interaction zones within and between the region.

With the established data, this research aims to identify economic growth factors and test whether particular areas suffer the effect of being intermediary markets. Intermediary market producers of low scale and limited harvest collections, situated between two large ‘source’ and ‘destination’ market, suffers from growth stunt because resources are pooled towards the two wealthier centres. Early Southeast Asian polities role as entrepots between the South and East Asia, may have stunted its technological advancements.

Speaker Biography

Phacharaphorn Phanomvan is an economic historian specialising in growth in pre-15th century Asia. She is completing her DPhil in Economic History at the University of Oxford. She taught economic history and global history at Oxford and the London School of Economics. Her broader research interests cover heritage and economic development, history of Asian institutions, and Southeast Asian archaeology.

This event is made possible by generous support from SOAS's Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of South East Asian Studies

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893/2