Ban Chiang Archaeological Site

Posted: February 3, 2009    Categories: Daily Photo, World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Site #51: Ban Chiang Archaeological Site

Ban Chiang Archaeological Site: My 51st UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Ban Chiang Archaeological Site:

The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is a large, prehistoric earthen mound located in an agricultural area in the Ban Chiang Sub-district, Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in northeast Thailand, within the watershed of the Mekong River. It is an oval-shaped mound formed by human habitation 500 meters x 1,350 meters and 8 meters high. The site was first discovered in 1966. It has since been extensively excavated and its remains studied by Thai and international scholars. Since 1966 the dating of the site has been adjusted and refined over time in line with advances in the understanding and techniques of radiometric dating. This research has revealed that the site dates from 1,495 BC .and contains early evidence for settled agrarian occupation in Southeast Asia, along with evidence of wet rice agriculture, an associated technological complex of domesticated farm animals, ceramic manufacture, and bronze tool-making technology. The total area of the property is 67.36 ha of which approximately 0.09% has been excavated (as of 2012)

The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is a prehistoric human habitation and burial site. It is considered by scholars to be the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in Southeast Asia, marking the beginning and showing the development of the wet-rice culture typical of the region. The site has been dated by scientific chronometric means (C-14 and thermoluminescence) which have established that the site was continuously occupied from 1495BC until c. 900BC., making it the earliest scientifically dated prehistoric farming and habitation site in Southeast Asia known at the time of inscription onto the World Heritage List.

The Ban Chiang cultural complex is well-defined and distinctive from anything that preceded it. Though it can trace the spread and development of prehistoric society and its development into the settled agricultural civilizations which came to characterize the region throughout history which still continue up to the present day. Advances in the fields of agriculture, animal domestication, ceramic and metal technology are all evident in the archaeological record of the site. Also evident is an increasing economic prosperity and social complexity of the successive communities at Ban Chiang, made possible by their developing cultural practices, as revealed through the many burials, rich in ceramic and metal grave goods, uncovered at the site.

The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is also the richest in Southeast Asia in the number and variety of artifacts recovered from the site. As such, the property has been extensively studied by scholars as the archaeological “type-site” for the beginnings of settled agricultural communities and their associated technologies in the region.

Ban Chiang is an archeological site where they found pottery and evidence of a civilization thousands of years old. That’s great.

They also have a very nice museum which displays the artifacts they found at the site. However, they don’t allow photography in the museum, I had to check my bag at the front desk, so there wasn’t anything to see.

The only options for taking photos was to roam around the grounds outside of the museum. The jar in the photo is just a copy of the type found in the dig, and I think was used for cigarette butts.

The one notable thing about the museum is that a significant part of the whole museum is devoted to a trip made by the King of Thailand to the site on a single day in 1972.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 10, 2017 @ 2:24 am