Asian Section Research at the Penn Museum

Middle Mekong Archaeological Project (MMAP), conceived in 2001, seeks to investigate human settlement of the Mekong Valley with a research program beginning in Luang Prabang in northern Laos.


Luang Prabang province, northern Laos.


12,000 BCE to present


  • Joyce White, Penn Museum
  • Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth, Vientiane National Museum, Laos
  • Katherine Arrell, Leeds University, UK
  • Huw Barton, University of Leicester, UK
  • Korokot Boonlop, Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre , Bangkok
  • Sureeratana Bubpha, Thammasat University, Bangkok
  • Elizabeth Hamilton, Penn Museum
  • Helen Lewis, University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Benjamin Marwick, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Gillian Thompson, University of Bradford, UK

Project Overview

Since 2005, MMAP has conducted a groundbreaking collaborative research program of international researchers in this area, including surveys that have identified 69 archaeological sites and excavations at three cave sites. This archaeological fieldwork has yielded thousands of stone and ceramic artifacts, human skeletal remains, and other evidence from over 11,000 years of human habitation in the area. MMAP seeks to resolve long standing archaeological debates on when and how metallurgy and agriculture came to Southeast Asia. This joint project of The Penn Museum and the Department of Heritage, Laos is also helping budding Lao archaeologists and museologists to build capabilities for Lao cultural heritage preservation, by offering training in archaeological disciplines concurrent with research activities.

Additional Sponsors

Read the MMAP 2010 Season Blog

Visit the MMAP website

Read more at Antiquity, Vol 83, Issue 319, March 2009.

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