Unique 1000-year-old coffin found in Thailand

Coffin burials are quite rare in Southeast Asia, so this find of a coffin with a carving of a woman on it is quite interesting, especially since there is little to compare it with. The first real “history” of the Nan province only emerges from about the 13th century so this coffin, if it is 1,000 years old, would predate that.

24 July 2007 (Bangkok Post) – Coffin burials are quite rare in Southeast Asia, so this find of a coffin with a carving of a woman on it is quite interesting, especially since there is little to compare it with. The first real “history” of the Nan province only emerges from about the 13th century so this coffin, if it is 1,000 years old, would predate that.

Wooden coffin cover clue to ancient times

Archaeologists are examining an ancient wooden coffin lid bearing a carved woman-like figure, hoping to find some link to a funeral culture thought to be uncommon in Southeast Asia. The coffin cover is 166cm long and about 30cm wide. It is made of teak and thought to be about 1,000 years old.

It is believed to be part of an elegant funeral ceremony of a long-vanished tribe, scholars from Chiang Mai University say.

They say the carving is a stylised human figure, representing a woman.

It is not known which tribe created it and even its age is uncertain because the archaeologists cannot find other ancient funeral items discovered in Thailand to make a comparison with it.

The coffin cover is considered a rare discovery, as its like has never been found before in the region.

The wooden artefact was unearthed recently by a villager collecting bat droppings in a cave in Nan’s Wiang Sa district. It was buried 10 metres below the ground’s surface, which was densely covered with bat guano.

Read more about the mysterious coffin fron Nan province.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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