Joyce White, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Institute for Southeast Asian Archaeology (ISEAA)
Consulting Scholar at the Penn Museum
Director of the Ban Chiang Project
My career has focused on multi-disciplinary investigation of the human past in Thailand and Laos, especially in the middle reaches of the Mekong basin. I am particularly interested in the processes by which agriculture and metallurgy first appeared in Southeast Asia. My research endeavors have included analysis and publication of Penn’s excavations at Ban Chiang in Thailand in the mid-1970s; ecological field research at Ban Chiang in 1978-1981 where I investigated how local people identified and used native plants; lake coring and ecological mapping for palaeoenvironmental research in several parts of Thailand during the 1990s; and since 2001, survey and excavation in northern Laos, especially in Luang Prabang Province as Director of the Middle Mekong Archaeological Project (MMAP).
Over the years, this research has been funded by National Geography Society, National Science Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, The Friends of Ban Chiang, Donors to the ISEAA, the University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation, and other foundations and individuals. My major emphasis for the Ban Chiang Project is to publish this work in a series of monographs, in order to preserve for posterity the Penn Museum’s pioneering research in Southeast Asia.