Digging up the past – Developing the Community

No Comments

1 June 2006 (Citylife Chiang Mai) – A feature on community-involvement archaeology project in northwest Thailand.

Digging up the past – Developing the Community
How archaeology makes a difference in Northwest Thailand

The Highland Archaeology Project in Pangmapha (HAPP) is a microcosm of the new directions of contemporary Thai archaeology. One important detail is that the project is run by a woman, Rasmi Shocoongdej, currently Assistant Professor at Silpakorn University.

The main results so far are the recording of nearly 100 sites from the Stone Age and Metal Age scattered across the district, as well as the excavation of two major rockshelter sites with evidence of over 20,000 years of habitation and several human burials.

The aim of the HAPP camp was to cultivate in the children, and hopefully their families, a sense of the value of the remains of the past and the importance of preserving them. By giving them a narrative of their unique local past – a past that they encounter the evidence of everyday – rather than a homogenising national past, they can feel a more positive sense of belonging and connection to [t]heir heritage.