Ban Chiang: Thailand’s most underrated UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Over the years Ban Chiang villagers reportedly found pieces of pottery but were unaware of its historical significance until the 1960s.

Over the years Ban Chiang villagers reportedly found pieces of pottery but were unaware of its historical significance until the 1960s.

Take an evolutionary journey back to 2100 BC as you check out skeletal remains and Bronze Age artifacts in northeast Thailand

By Karla Cripps

In the world of archeological tourism, there are a few hard truths.

Ancient temples and pyramids: super sexy. Old pottery and tools that present the earliest evidence of farming in Southeast Asia? Tough sell.

This might explain why Ban Chiang — despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s considered the most important prehistoric settlement ever discovered in northeast Thailand’s Udon Thani province — isn’t up there with the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai when it comes to hot tourist attractions.

It is, after all, little more than a preserved dig site with broken pottery and an impressive museum featuring everything from skeletal remains to Bronze Age gifts for the dead. There isn’t even much to the town itself, picture perfect as it may be.

But still, it’s a fantastic learning experience for anyone with even a tiny bit of interest in evolution and definitely worth a visit if you’re traveling through Thailand’s northeastern Isaan region.

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