Early pottery in island Southeast Asia
Perceived similarities between pottery types found in archaeological sites across Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) have been central to the formation of regional hypotheses of prehistoric social interaction. Variations in pottery production and style have been linked to variations in social interaction and intensity. Accordingly, many models link the presence of early pottery in an ISEA assemblage (particularly red-slipped types) with the concept of the Neolithic Revolution (and its associated links to agriculture) and the presence of Austronesian language speaking peoples. This chapter begins by reviewing the prehistoric models that seek to explain the origins of early pottery in Island Southeast Asia. In doing so, the links between these models and the concept of the Neolithic are elucidated. Later in the chapter, the early pottery evidence from archaeological sites throughout Island Southeast Asia is explored. This reveals that much variation in the early pottery assemblages has been consistently overlooked in forming prehistoric models that address the origins of pottery. In future, a more detailed examination of this variation can be used to refine the current models of prehistory.