9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Bonnet

Iron Age Technology at Ban Don Ta Phet: The manufacture and use of a protohistoric tool

Katie Bonnet

University of Exeter

This project examines iron implements, labelled as billhooks, found in the protohistoric burial site of Ban Don Ta Phet located in Central Thailand. The site dates from early 4th century B.C.E or early 3rd century B.C.E. and excavations from this site discovered one of the largest iron tool assemblages in Thailand. Using experimental archaeology the billhooks are recreated leading to inferences regarding the technology and skill of the blacksmiths of Iron Age Southeast Asia. The recreated billhooks are also studied to understand a possible use for the tool.

An overview of the background information on the billhooks is given followed by the methodology of the study. The succeeding information focuses on the forging of the tools and subsequent use of the tools. These include details about the forge work and use experiments carried out in two different locations, one in England, another in Sri Lanka. This is followed by a discussion of the skills needed to forge the tools and possible function of the iron


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