24 October 2007 (Science Daily) – A report on the collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s Ban Chiang Project and Laos’ Department of Museums and Archaeology and the results of the last few year’s work of surveying the area around the Mekong River for archaeological potential.
As archaeologists in the last half century have set about reconstructing the prehistory of Southeast Asia, data from one countryâ€”centrally located Laosâ€”was conspicuously missing. Little archaeology has occurred in Laos since before World War II, and beginning in the mid-1970s, Laos shut its doors completely to outside researchers. International scholars had to content themselves with information from excavation and survey work mostly from neighboring Thailand.
That scenario is beginning to shiftâ€”and new data, as well as new collaborative relationshipsâ€”may forever change our perspective on an area that was once considered a â€œbackwater regionâ€ of human civilization.