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Home Cambodian Histories

Cambodian Histories
Prehistory PDF Print E-mail

The sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present day Cambodia are quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, and in Kampot Province, but their dating is not reliable.

Some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during Holocene: the most ancient Cambodian archeological site is considered to be the cave of Laang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the so-called Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower layers produced a series of radiocarbon dates as of 6000 BC.

Upper layers in the same site gave evidence of transition to Neolithic, containing the earliest dated earthenware ceramics in CambodiaArcheological records for the period between Holocene and Iron Age remain equally limited. Other prehistoric sites of somewhat uncertain date are Samrong Sen (not far from ancient capital of Oudong), where first investigations started just in 1877, and Phum Snay, in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey.Prehistoric artifacts are often found during mining activities in Ratanakiri.


The most outstanding prehistoric evidence in Cambodia however are probably "circular earthworks", discovered in the red soils near Memot and in adjacent region of Vietnam as of the end of the 1950's. Their function and age are still debated, but some of them possibly date from 2nd millennium BC at least.

A pivotal event in Cambodian prehistory was the slow penetration of the first rice farmers from North, which begun in the late 3rd millennium BC. They probably spoke ancestral Mon-Khmer.

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Pre-Angkorian and Angkorian polities PDF Print E-mail

During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianised states of Funan and Chenla coalesced in what is now present-day Cambodia and southwestern Vietnam. These states are assumed by most scholars to have been Khmer. For more than 2,000 years, Cambodia absorbed influences from India and China passing them on to other Southeast Asian civilisations that are now Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.

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Modernity and French Indochina PDF Print E-mail
Cambodian Histories

In 1863, King Norodom, who had been installed by Thailand, sought the protection of France from the Thai and Vietnamese, after tensions grew between them. In 1867, the Thai king signed a treaty with France, renouncing suzerainty over Cambodia in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of Thailand. The provinces were ceded back to Cambodia by a border treaty between France and Thailand in 1906.

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