Laang Spean cave (Battambang province): A tale of occupation in Cambodia from the Late Upper Pleistocene to Holocene


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Publication Date

September 2016


Discovered and initially excavated by Cécile and Roland Mourer in the 1960s, Laang Spean cave was re-excavated in 2009 by the Franco-Cambodian Prehistoric Mission (MNHN-Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Phnom Penh). The large amount of archaeological remains collected during the previous excavations has been complemented by new discoveries, and a more complete sequence has been documented. The cultural layers included lithic artefacts, potteries, animal bones, and human burials. Three mains distinguishable occupational layers are recognized: Neolithic, Hoabinhian and Pre-Hoabinhian level. A solid chronological framework has been established by applying independent age techniques (14C and OSL dating) to a 5 m thick sequence. Laang Spean is the only prehistoric site associated with Hoabinhian stone tools discovered in a well defined stratigraphy in Cambodia. The chronological results and the amount and characteristics of the lithic series provide cultural, environmental, and spatial context for the Hoabinhian technocomplex in comparison to other sites in Mainland South East Asia.


Hoabinhian, Pre-Hoabinhian, Cambodia, Neolithic, Laang Spean Cave

Document Type



Quaternary International, Vol. 416 (2016-09-19).