Category: Ban Chiang.

About Ban Chiang Archaeological Site

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ban chiang potteries

Until the 1960s, south-east Asia was considered to have been a culturally backward area in prehistory. The generally accepted view was that its cultural development resulted from external influences, principally from China to the north and India to the west. Recent archaeological work at Nok Nok Tha and, later, Ban Chiang on the Khorat plateau of north-east Thailand has demonstrated this view to be incorrect: this area of modern

Thailand has been shown by excavation and field survey to have been the centre of an independent, and vigorous, cultural development in the 4th millennium BC which shaped contemporary social and cultural evolution over much of southeast Asia and beyond into the lndonesian archipelago.

Settlement of the Khorat plateau began around 2000 BC. The settlers came from the neighbouring lowlands, bringing with them a hunter-gatherer economy that was beginning to develop sedentary farming, with domesticated cattle, pigs, and chickens and an elementary form of dry-rice cultivation. The settled village life of this Early Period at Ban Chiang lasted until c.1000 BC. Agricultural methods were refined and improved, along with other skills such as house construction and pottery manufacture. The equipment of burials reflects an increasing social complexity Of especial importance was the growing use of bronze, for weapons and personal ornament in the earlier phase but spreading to more utilitarian applications in the later phases.

The Middle Period ( 1000-500/300 BC) was notable for the introduction of wet-rice farming, as evidenced by the presence of water buffalo bones, and technological developments in ceramic and metal production. lt was a period of considerable prosperity, as shown by the grave-goods, and one which saw the introduction of iron into common use.

In the Late Period (500/300 BC-AD 200/300) there was further social and technological development. especially in ceramic design and production. Although occupation appears to have ended at Ban Chiang in the 3rd century AD, at other sites in the region, such as Non Maung and Ban Prasat, settlement was continuous into the 16th century and later.

Ban Chiang village

Ban Chiang is considered to have been the principal settlement in this area of the Khorat plateau and has given its name to a distinctive archaeological culture. Scores of contemporary sites have been discovered in the region, at several of which excavations have been carried out. The prehistoric settlement lies beneath the modern village of Ban Chiang (established by Laotian refugees in the late 18th century). It is a low oval mound some 500m by 1.3km. Only very limited excavation has been possible in the settlement site, but this has established the existence of deep stratification and long cultural continuity.

The main excavations have taken place on the perimeter of the modem village, where a large number of burials from all three periods, with rich ceramic and metal grave-goods, have been revealed and recorded. One of the excavations has been preserved for public viewing, with a permanent cover building; there is an excellent site museum in another part of the village.

Category: Ban Chiang