Squatters damaging ancient Sukhothai

The Thai Fine Arts department is sounding the alarm bells over the actions of squatters who are encroaching into the lands of the ancient Thai capital, Sukhothai. It doesn’t sound as if the squatters are damaging the site, I wonder if dialogue can be initiated between the squatters and the Fine Arts Department to come to a mutually beneficial agreement?

Sukhothai, Thailand
photo credit: minikin_hvh

Squatters are ‘damaging ancient ruins’
Bangkok Post, 11 March 2009

The Fine Arts Department has voiced concern over the damage squatters are doing to a valuable forested area near Sukhothai historical park.

Anandha Chuchoti, director of the department’s 6th Regional Office, said the squatters had encroached along an ancient route in the outer part of the historical park and stepped up their destruction of the forest in recent years, resulting in the loss of hundreds of rai.

“The villagers have cleared the forest, turning it into cash crop plantations, in particular sugar cane fields,” he said.

The encroached area surrounded ancient ruins such as Wat Tapan Hin, which once served as a forest monastery.


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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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