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Glass Beads from Jar Burials of the 15th-17th Centuries in the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia

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A variety of glass beads were encountered in jar burials dating to the 15th-17th centuries found on rock ledges in remote portions of the Cardamom Mountains in southern Cambodia. These burials represent a mortuary ritual in which defleshed bones, often from multiple individuals, were deposited in large ceramic jars predominantly from Thai kilns. Despite the isolated location, the jars and glass beads suggest that the people buried in the jars were active participants in exchange networks. The identification of different compositional types of glass beads can be related to possible trade networks with the lowlands and maritime Southeast Asia. Using ethnographic analogies with other upland communities in Southeast Asia, the authors also propose that the placement of beads in the jar burials may have been an important part of the mortuary ritual of the Cardamom Mountain people.

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The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.

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