Lecture: New Data on Early Settlement Processes and State Formation in Highland Sumatra, Indonesia




Little is known about the settlement processes that created the unique cultural diversity in the highlands of Sumatra. Recent archaeological investigations have yielded new evidence of the polity of Indonesia’s last Hindu-Buddhist king, Ādityavarman (ca. 1343–75), who established his centre of reign in the highland of West Sumatra. Essential to the development of Ādityavarman’s trading kingdom were various economic factors such as gold resources, a surplus obtained by wet rice cultivation, the development of specialised crafts like metalworking, and the control of trading networks to the coastal areas. This early phase of state formation was also substantiated by increasing sociopolitical integration marked by ceremonial structures and stone inscriptions. This seminar will thus show an increase in territorial consolidation and socio-economic complexity which initiated a dense settlement pattern in this highland region from the 14th century.

Dr Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz
is Visiting Fellow at NSC. She teaches Southeast Asian cultures and archaeology at several German universities. She has a PhD in Art History from Technical University of Darmstadt and an M.A. in Art History, Archaeology, and Southeast Asian regional studies from Frankfurt University, Germany. She served as research assistant for excavations conducted in Syria (2009–2010) and Sumatra, Indonesia in 2003–2008 and 2011–2014. She was formerly a Visiting Associate of the Archaeology Unit of NSC and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute in Singapore, and has been a member of the academic committee of the European Association of Southeast Asian archaeologists (EASEAA) since 2010. Her main interests are Southeast Asia’s maritime cultural heritage, settlement history, architecture, and ancient material culture.

To register, please fill in this form and email to nscevents@iseas.edu.sg.


Sep 08 2016


10:30 am - 12:00 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2