Off-campus SJSU users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your SJSU library user name and PIN.

Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Marco Meniketti


Archaeology, Environment, Khao Toh Chong Rockshelter, Krabi, Prehistory, Thailand

Subject Areas

Archaeology; Paleoecology; Asian studies


Environmental archaeology is a holistic approach to understanding human environmental intervention. This study examines a late-Pleistocene-to-Holocene archaeological rockshelter site in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, known as Khao Toh Chong Rockshelter (KTC). A mixed-method approach is applied to investigate human behavioral adaptation to a changing climate in the tropical environment of Peninsular Thailand. The changing subsistence regime at KTC describes the shift from hunting-gathering and foraging to opportunistic horticulture. The archaeological and multi-disciplinary methodologies utilized in this research include geoarchaeological sedimentary science, zooarchaeological analysis of faunal remains, and paleobotanical study of deposits of the stratigraphy of the rockshelter site.

The environmental archaeological study of KTC indicated that the hunter-gatherer and foraging groups that occupied the site exploited a wider array of fauna during the mid-Holocene (increasing diet breadth). The geoscience results of this research provided details about shifting from C4 to C3 photosynthetic plant ratios during the Holocene, which indicates that more fruiting plants were available during this time. The low pollen yield indicated poor organic preservation, whereas sedimentary analysis illustrated clay-rich deposits that were beneficial for material-culture preservation. Human environmental intervention at the rockshelter indicates that people began moving away from a hunter-gatherer and foraging lifestyle to a more sustainable practice of resource consumption during the mid-Holocene.