top of page

Mélissa Cadet

Postdoctoral scholar, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica



My research subjects focus on copper-based technologies and exchanges in Southeast Asia by applying cutting-edge methodologies from the material sciences. I started to specialized in this topic during my PhD under the direction of Prof. Philippe Dillmann and Dr. T.O Pryce at the LAPA (Laboratoire Archéomatériaux et Prévision de l’altération) and Préhistoire et Technologie (PreTech) in France. Indeed, my thesis deals with the technological reconstruction of the chaine opératoire of copper production at the Vilabouly Complex in Laos, one of the three copper extraction and production sites currently known in Southeast Asia. I studied the artefacts from Vilabouly (ores, technical ceramics, slags and copper-based objects) applying an archaeometric approach (macroscopic, microscopic, compositional and lead isotope) in order to characterize the technologies used at the site and the interactions of Vilabouly with the neighboring regions.

Vilabouly study was involved in the bigger project of BROGLASEA (Bronze and Glass as cultural catalysts and Tracers in Early Southeast Asia) directed by T.O Pryce that also permit me to work on the copper exchange networks at the regional scale by dealing with a database of more than 700 copper-based, slag and ore samples from different regions in Southeast Asia with compositional and lead isotopic results.

I’m currently running a postdoctoral project at Academia Sinica with Dr. Kuan-Wen Wang focusing now on the copper-technologies in the islands of the South China Sea, particularly Taiwan and the Philippines. Indeed, data for the islands is presently a missing but important puzzle for the relevant discussion of the interactions, technologies and population movements around the South China Sea. This project aims to bring first data for archaeometallurgical studies in the islands by starting to answer several questions such as the form and origin(s) of copper-based technologies in Taiwan and the Philippines, the flow of metal compared to the whole Southeast Asian region as well as interactions in a more reduced scale between the Taiwanese communities.

Key Publications

  • Cadet, M., Pryce T. O. et al, Technological reconstruction of the late prehistoric primary copper production of the Vilabouly Complex (Central Laos), 2022, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 14(8)

  • Cadet, M., Tereygeol. F, Sayavongkhamdy. Souksavatdy. V, Luangkhoth. T, Chang. N, Dillmann. P, Pryce. T.O, 2021, Late Prehistoric copper smelting in the Lao PDR: Experimental reconstruction based on the Vilabouly Complexe evidence, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 37

  • Cadet, M., Sayavongkhamdy. Souksavatdy. V, Luangkhoth. T, Dillmann. P, Cloquet. C, Vernet. J, Piccardo. P, Chang. N, Edgar. J, Foy. E, Pryce. T. O, 2019, Laos' central role in Southeast Asian copper exchange networks: A multi- method study of bronzes from the Vilabouly Complex, Journal of Archaeological Sciences 109.

bottom of page