Archaeology isn’t about ancient ruins and dead remains. Very often, the living still inhabit archaeological sites. The Nation features a project by Naresuan University to document the living traditions and lifestyle of the people inhabiting Sukohthai, Thailand’s first capital.
The Nation, 05 January 2012
The future will be better if we understand our past, so the wisdom has it. Call Sukhothai very wise. It continues to learn and prosper in the lingering glow of its glory as Siam’s capital 700 years ago.
In a project backed by the Thailand Research Fund, Jirawat Phirasant – director of Naresuan University’s Institute of Mekong-Salween Civilisation Studies – mined the venerable knowledge of 12 Sukhothai communities that will be useful in modern education and tourism.
“The idea is to promote tourism that’s based on the local lifestyle and wisdom, and using their traditional skills to create community products,” Jirawat explains.
The dozen communities of Tambon Mueang Kao surround the Sukhothai Historical Park. Jirawat visited them all to gather oral histories and record local expressions, social practices, rituals and festivals. He studied their performing arts and traditional craftsmanship, and even noted how nature and the universe are perceived.