Urbanization in Southeast Asia is sometimes assumed to have been synonymous with the development of orthogenetic structures such as religious centers under external in•uence. An alternative hypothesis proposes that social structures stimulated bylocal cultural and environmental conditions and regional historical events emerged in several parts of Southeast Asia, marked byev olution rather than stasis. One of the major stumbling blocks in the path toward a new theoryis a lack of appropriate archaeological data with which to test this hypothesis. A thorough research program is therefore needed to re•ne and implement a methodologyfor gathering data on a wide range of characteristics from several sites. Myanmar a€ords one of the best laboratories for such a program. Restoration projects have seriously a€ected both structures and distributions of artifacts such as potterybefore they were thoroughlystudied. Previous research in Thailand and Java can provide models on which planners of a project to investigate ancient urbanization in Myanmar can draw. Sustainable heritage tourism can contribute positivelyto both archaeological research and public education.
Asian Perspectives – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 1, 2001