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Ban Chiang Archaeological Site
Ban Chiang, Thailand (Udon Thani)
c. 2100 BC
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ban Chiang Pottery by annascan
Image by annascan

Now that the airport international, the capital of Udon Thani province is certainly more accessible to the world, and about time too – since it’s the gateway to the Ban Chiang archaeological site, one of the earliest sites in Southeast Asia to gain world heritage status.

What Ban Chiang lacks in iconic architecture, it makes up in sheer archaeological significance as a Bronze Age settlement. Over major excavations during the 60s and 70s, the picture of developing metal age technology that emerged challenged previous assumptions of Southeast Asia being a backwater to the civilisations in India and China.

Evidence suggests that a bronze age in Southeast Asia may have arisen as a result of agriculturalists moving into the region from China, or even a local origin for bronze working. Whichever the case may be – the advent of this new technology seems to have affected Southeast Asia in ways that do not conform to the norms seen in the Mediterranean, India and China.

Read about the significance of Ban Chiang and the Southeast Asian Bronze Age in:

The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia (Cambridge World Archaeology) by C. Higham
Ban Chiang: Discovery of a Lost Bronze Age by the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania by J. C. White
Ban Chiang, a Prehistoric Village Site in Northeast Thailand: The Human Skeletal Remains (Thai Archaeology Monograph Series, 1) by M. Pietrusewsky and M. T. Douglas
Ban Chiang: Art and prehistory of Northeast Thailand by A. J. Labbei
Cognition and design production in Ban Chiang painted pottery by P. Van Esterik
Ban Chiang prehistoric cultures by Y. Chin

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One Reply to “5 Southeast Asian archaeology sites to visit (that are not Angkor)”

  1. I am not sure what archeologists think of the restoration done in Trowulan archeological site, but its good to see that they really try to preserve and protect the sites, even with limited resources. It is a pity though as its not part of the tourist candi trail.

    In contrast, from what i saw 3 years ago…MySon as well as the Cham museum get a lot of tourists but seems to be struggling with restoration and maintenance. Really surprising to see. I did notice that there were 3 related museums there (the on-site one, the nearby one that probably never sees visitors, the Champa museum in Danang with its so few exhibits), so is it a case of spreading resources thin?

    Anyway, it is quite understandable for Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia to have to spread its resources among many many sites. But for Vietnam (and also Malaysia), I really wonder why, especially noting their huge tourism budgets and how the few sites they have can possibly bring in more tourists. Its probably not about availability of funds.

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