• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Archaeology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dougald O'Reilly
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

This introduction to the archaeology of Buddhism across Asia covers the period from the birth of Buddhism, exploring the archaeological remains from India, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam as well as China to c. AD 1500.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of this Unit of Study students will be expected to: 

  1. Possess a strong knowledge relating to the evidence provided by archaeology for the history and material culture of Buddhist Asia in the relevant time period.
  2. Have acquired a solid grounding in relevant archaeological methodologies, and an understanding of how these may be utilised in order to analyse archaeological materials.
  3. Have increased the ability to work interactively in the seminar setting.

Indicative Assessment

Research essay 2500 words 60% Assesses Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3

Exam 30% Assesses Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3

Tutorial Participation 10% Assesses Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


  • Contact hours: At least 3 hours a week, which will comprise face-to-face teaching and other forms of compulsory teaching and learning activities which do not require students and/or teachers to be present in the same physical location e.g. online communication, video conferencing etc. One hour of lecture and one hour of tutorial will be presented each week.
  • Private study: It is expected that students will undertake 7 hours per week per unit of study toward the completion of assignments, class and exam preparation etc

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of courses towards a degree including at least one of ARCH1111 or ARCH1112. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ARCH2600.

Preliminary Reading

AUNG-THWIN, M. A. 1998. Myth and History in the Historiography of Early Burma. Paradigms, Primary sources and Prejudices Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press.

BANDARANAYAKE, S. 1989. Monastery plan and social formation: the spatial organisation of the Buddhist monastic complexes of the Early and Middle Historical Period in Sri Lanka and changing patterns of political power. In: MILLER, D., ROWLANDS, M. & TILLEY, C. (eds.) Domination and Resistance. Londone: Unwin Hyman.

BARNES, G. 2004. The Emergence and Expansion of Silla from an Archaeological Perspective. Korean Studies, 28, 14-48.

BARNES, G. L. 1995. An Introduction to Buddhist Archaeology. World Archaeology, 27, 165-182.

BEST, J. W. 2002. Buddhism and Polity in Early Sixth-Century Paekche. Korean Studies, 26, 165-215.

BROWN, R. L. 1995. The Dvaravati Wheel of the Law and the Indianisation of Southeast Asia, Leiden, E.J. Brill.

BYRNE, D. 1995. Buddhist Stupa and Thai Social Practice. World Archaeology, 27, 266-281.

CHAKRABARTI, D. K. 1995. Buddhist Sites across South Asia as Influenced by Political and Economic Forces. World Archaeology, 27, 185-202.

CHAKRABARTI, D. K. 2001. The archaeology of Hinduism. In: INSOLL, T. (ed.) Archaeology and World Religion. London: Routledge.

COEDÈS, G. 1968. The Indianized states of Southeast Asia, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.

CONINGHAM, R. A. E. 1995. Monks, Caves and Kings: A Reassessment of the Nature of Early Buddhism in Sri Lanka. World Archaeology, 27, 222-242.

CONINGHAM, R. A. E. 2001. The archaeology of Buddhism. In: INSOLL, T. (ed.) Archaeology and World Religion. London: Routledge.

CORT, L. A. & JETT, P. (eds.) 2010. Gods of Angkor. Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia, Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.

CUNNINGHAM, A. 1871-2. Annual Report. . Archaeological Survey of India, 3, 13-46.

CUNNINGHAM, A. 1961. Inscriptions of Asoka, Varanasi, Indological Book House (reprint).

CUNNINGHAM, A. 1962. The Stupa of Bharhut, Varanasi, Indological Book House (reprint).

DUTT, S. 1962. Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India. Their History and their Contribution to Indian Culture, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.

FISHER, R. E. 1993. Buddhist Art and Architecture, London, Thames & Hudson.

FOGELIN, L. 2003. Ritual and presentation in early Buddhist religious architecture. Asian Perspectives, 42, 129-154.

FOGELIN, L. 2006. Archaeology of Early Buddhism, Oxford, Altamira.

FOGELIN, L. 2007. The archaeology of religious ritual. Annual Review of Anthropology, 36, 55-71.

GRAVE, P. 1995. Beyond the Mandala: Buddhist Landscapes and Upland-Lowland Interaction in North-West Thailand AD 1200-1650. World Archaeology, 27, 243-265.

HARRELL, M. 1995. Sokkuram: Buddhist Monument and Political Statement in Korea. World Archaeology, 27, 318-335.

HEITZMAN, J. 1984. Early Buddhism, Trade and Empire. In: KENNEDY, K. A. R. & POSSEHL, G. L. (eds.) Studies in the Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology of South Asia. New Delhi: Oxford and IBH.

HIGUCHI, T. & BARNES, G. 1995. Bamiyan: Buddhist Cave Temples in Afghanistan. World Archaeology, 27, 282-302.

HONEYCHURCH, W. & AMARTUVSHIN, C. 2007. Hinterlands, urban centers, and mobile settings: the "new" Old World archaeology of the Eurasian Steppe. Asian Perspectives, 46, 35-64.

INDRAWOOTH, P. 2004. The archaeology of early Buddhist kingdoms of Thailand. In: GLOVER, I. & BELLWOOD, P. (eds.) Southeast Asia. From prehistory to history. Oxford: RoutledgeCurzon.

INSOLL, T. (ed.) 2001. Archaeology and World Religion, London: Routledge.

INSOLL, T. 2001. Introduction. The archaeology of world religion. In: INSOLL, T. (ed.) Archaeology and World Religion. London: Routledge.

INSOLL, T. 2004. Are Archaeologists Afraid of Gods? Some Thoughts on Archaeology and Religion. In: INSOLL, T. (ed.) Belief in the Past. The Proceedings of the 2002 Manchester Conference on Archaeology and Religion. British Archaeological Report Series. Oxford: Archaeopress 

KIM, W.-Y. 1986. Art and Archaeology of Ancient Korea, Seoul, The Taekwang Publishing Co.

KINNEY, A. R., KLOKKE, M. J. & KIEVEN, L. 2003. Worshiping Siva and Buddha. The Temple Art of East Java, Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press.

LIU, X. 2011. A Silk Road legacy: the spread of Buddhism and Islam. Journal of World History, 22, 55-81.

LOPEZ, D. S. 1995. Buddhism in Practice, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

MA, S. 1995. Buddhist cave-temples and the Cao Family at Mogao Ku, Dunhuang. World Archaeology, 27, 303-317.

MABBETT, I. 1978. Kingship in Angkor. Journal of the Siam Society, 66, 1-58.

MABBETT, I. 1986. Buddhism in Champa. In: MARR, D. G. & MILNER, A. C. (eds.) Southeast Asia in the Ninth to Fifteenth Centuries. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

MANGUIN, P.-Y. 2004. The archaeology of early maritime polities in mainland Southeast Asia. In: BELLWOOD, P. & GLOVER, I. (eds.) South East Asia from Prehistory to History. London: Routledge Curzon.

MASPERO, G. 2002[1928]. The Champa Kingdom. The History of the Extinct Vietnamese Culture, Bangkok, White Lotus Press.

MCCALLUM, D. F. 2009. The Four Great Temples. Buddhist archaeology, architecture, and icons of seventh-century Japan, Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press.

MCKINNON, E. E. 2000. Buddhism and the Pre-Islamic Archaeology of Kutei in the Mahakam Valley of East Kalimantan. In: TAYLOR, N. A. (ed.) Studies In Southeast Asian Art: Essays In Honor Of Stanley J. O'connor Ithaca: Southeast Asia Programs Publications Cornell.

MOORE, E. H. 2007. Early Landscapes of Myanmar, Bangkok, River Books.

MORRISON, K. D. 1995. Trade, Urbanism, and Agricultural Expansion: Buddhist Monastic Institutions and the State in the Early Historic Western Deccan. World Archaeology, 27, 203-221.

PANADIAN, J. 1991. Culture, Religion, and the Sacred Self. A Critical Introduction to the Anthropological Study of Religion, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.

PHUOC, L. H. 2010. Buddhist Architecture, LaVergne, Grafikol.

RAY, H. P. 1994. Kanheri: The archaeology of an Early Buddhist pilgrimage centre in western India. World Archaeology, 26, 35-46.

RAY, H. P. 2003. The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

RAY, H. P. 2006. The axial age in Asia: the archaeology of Buddhism (500 B.C.-A.D. 500). In: STARK, M. T. (ed.) Archaeology of Asia. Cornwall: Blackwell Publishing.

RENFREW, C. 1994. Towards a cognitive archaeology. In: RENFREW, C. & ZUBROW, E. B. W. (eds.) The Ancient Mind. Elements of Cognitive Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ROVEDA, V. 2005. Images of the Gods. Khmer mythology in Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, Bangkok, River Books.

SCHOPEN, G. 1997. Bones, Stones, and Buddhist Monks, Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press.

SHARROCK, P. 2009. Garuda, Vajrapani and Religious Change in Jayavarman VII's Angkor. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 40, 111-151.

SHICHANG, M. 1995. Buddhist Cave-Temples and the Cao Family at Mogao Ku, Dunhuang. World Archaeology, 27, 303-317.

SINOPOLI, C. M. 2006. Imperial landscapes of South India. In: STARK, M. T. (ed.) Archaeology of Asia. Cornwall: Blackwell Publishers.

SNELLING, J. 1998. The Buddhist Handbook. The Complete Guide to Buddhist Schools, Teaching, Practice, and History, Rochester, Inner Traditions.

SONI, S. 1991. Evolution of Stupas in Burma. Pagan Period: 11th to 13th centuries A.D., New Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.

STRACHAN, P. 1990. Imperial Pagan: Art and Architecture of Burma, Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press.

TADANAO, Y. & EDWARDS, W. 1995. Early Buddhist Temples in Japan: Roof-Tile Manufacture and the Social Basis of Temple Construction. World Archaeology, 27, 336-353.

THAPAR, R. 1997. Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, New Delhi, Oxford India Paperbacks.

VERMEERSCH, S. 2002. Representation of the Ruler in Buddhist Inscriptions of Early Koryo. Korean Studies, 26, 216-250.

WOLTERS, O. W. 1999. History, Culture and Religion in Southeast Asian Perspectives. Revised Edition, Ithaca, Cornell University and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

WRIGGINS, S. H. 2004. The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang, Boulder, Westview Press.

YU, H.-J. 1999. Smiles of the Baby Buddha. Appreciating the cultural heritage of Kyongju, Mapo-gu, Changbi Publishers, Inc.



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Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3593 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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