Facial reconstruction of a woman from Pleistocene Thailand

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A new paper from Antiquity presents a facial reconstruction of a woman found in Tham Lod, a Pleistocene site in northern Thailand.

https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2017.18

Creating a facial appearance for individuals from the distant past is often highly problematic, even when verified methods are used. This is especially so in the case of non-European individuals, as the reference populations used to estimate the face tend to be heavily biased towards the average facial variation of recent people of European descent. To evaluate the problem, a facial approximation of a young woman from the Late Pleistocene rockshelter of Tham Lod in north-western Thailand was compared against the average facial variation of datasets from recent populations. The analysis indicated that the Tham Lod facial approximation was neither overtly recent in facial morphology, nor overtly European. The case is of particular interest as the Tham Lod individual probably belonged to a population ancestral to extant Australo-Melanesian peoples.

Source: A Late Pleistocene woman from Tham Lod, Thailand: the influence of today on a face from the past | Antiquity | Cambridge Core

See also: Face of Stone Age woman from Thailand’s northern highlands revealed

The Tham Lod site of Mae Hong Son

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Tham Lod. Source: Ancient Origins 20151109

A feature on Tham Lod, a Pleistocene-Holocene site in Mae Hong Son province of northern Thailand.

Tham Lod. Source: Ancient Origins 20151109

Tham Lod. Source: Ancient Origins 20151109

Magnificent Tham Lod Cave Sheds Light on Earliest Humans in Thailand
Ancient Origins, 09 November 2015

The Tham Lod Rockshelter (a shallow cave) in Mae Hong Son Province, in Northwest Thailand is a prehistoric area that had been the center for burial and tool–making in the late Pleistocene to the late Holocene phase. The magnificent cave, a photographer’s and archaeologist’s dream, continues to shed light on the earliest humans that inhabited Thailand.

The discovery of a wealth of archaeological remains inside the Tham Lod rockshelter, also known as Tham Lot cave, led to the protection of the site by the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Studies in 2001. Extensive excavations were carried out to establish and examine human activity at Tham Lod during the three major periods of occupation in the region. The results revealed extensive long-term activity by early humans including hunting, food preparation, tool-making, and human burials.

Full story here.

Thai community archaeology project boosted thanks to grant

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Pang Ma Pha district, in the Mae Hong Son province of Thailand is benefiting from a grant by the US government to support an archaeological research project focusing on the local caves. The project is run by Dr. Rasmi Shoocongdej from Silpakorn University.

I heard Dr. Shoocongdej presenting her Mae Hong Son work at a conference last year. Unlike most archaeological projects, this one really involved the community in managing the site, to the extent of teaching school kids about the prehistory of the region, as well as training guides within the community to help boost local tourism work. It’s a fine example of community archaeology.


photo credit: Michael Scalet

Preserving the Past
Bangkok Post, 04 March 2008
Link is no longer available

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