Lecture: Analyzing Cambodian Cave Art: Ecology, Social Dimensions, Networks and Supply Chains



Southeast Asia contains some of the earliest art known to the planet. Recently dated sites indicate cave/rock art was produced 35–40,000 years ago. Southeast Asia has a widespread and longstanding tradition of cave/rock art extending to the present. Nevertheless, relations among sites and the people who produced the art remain obscure and tenuous. Meanings and purposes are equally ambiguous. Many sites frequently depict animals and humans. Analyzed correctly, however, this reveals information about past cultures, practices, environment and ecology. Subsequently, this helps elucidate clues to assist a greater understanding of past industries and supply-chain networks.
The Kanam cave art site, researched in Jan 2015, depicts an abundance of elephants, humans and deer. The dates of the paintings and site use remain unknown, but it very well may relate to elephant capturing, training and deer hunting industries. The results of the research were recently presented at the IFRAO Conference held in Careres, Spain (31 Aug–4 Sep: “Symbols in the Landscape: Rock Art and its Context”). Fieldwork, methodology, results and implications will be discussed.


Dr D. Kyle Latinis, Visiting Fellow at the NSC, currently researches the Historical Ecology of Southeast Asia—an approach which combines ethnographic, historic and archaeological data to examine long term human-environment trends, inclusive of internal and external socio-economic factors and resource exploitation. He will also assist with projects and field training in Mainland Southeast Asia, having over 20 years of experience in Cambodia. Dr Latinis earned a PhD at the National University of Singapore, Department of Southeast Asian Studies (2008) and a PhD in Ecological Anthropology at the University of Hawaii, Department of Anthropology (1999). Recently, he was a Director and Senior Social Scientist with the US Department of Defense (2011–2014; including 18 months of applied research in Afghanistan), and Dean of Graduate Studies and Social Sciences at the University of Cambodia (2009–2011). Previous fieldwork and research throughout the 1990s and early 2000s focused on east Indonesia (Maluku, Papua Barat, Sulawesi) and proximate areas in the Pacific.

He has also participated in several Singapore heritage projects since 1995 where he first worked with Prof John Miksic at the Fort Canning and Empress Place archaeological sites. His most recent (2014) research publication is: “The Social and Ecological Trajectory of Prehistoric Cambodian Earthworks” Asian Perspectives, 52(2):327–346.

To register, please complete this reply form and return it by fax: 6775-6264 or email: nscevents@iseas.edu.sg  by 2 November 2015.


Nov 03 2015


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2