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That is, they decorated their bronze with geometric patterns, spirals, triangles, and rectangles, as well as with scenes or pictures of people and animals.
As applied to Southeast Asia, both Heine-Geldern and Bernhard Karlgren, a Swedish scholar, called this culture Dong Son, after Dong Son, a site in North Viet Nam south of Hanoi, where large bronze drums Prehistorians, for the most part, have followed this traditional reconstruction, but there were some facts that did not quite jibe. He hypothesized that the first plant domestication in the world took place in Southeast Asia.
Even the name they gave the area--Indochina--reflected this attitude.
For purposes of prehistory, what we usually think of as Southeast Asia must be expanded somewhat to include related cultures.
Secondly, what they did uncover was interpreted on the assumption that the flow of culture was eastward and southward.
Civilization, they theorized, having begun in the Near East, flowered in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and later in Greece and Rome. Southeast Asia, being so far from the point of origin, got it thereafter.
He suggested a series of "waves of culture" that is, human migrations--which brought to Southeast Asia the major peoples who are found there today.
Now, however, discoveries in Southeast Asia are forcing us to re-examine these traditions.
Prehistoric Southeast Asia, as I use the term, consists of two parts.