The Ombudsman has stepped in to mediate a dispute between the Fine Arts Department and more than 1,600 locals in Phimai district who claim the department has declared 2,600 rai of their land an archaeological site.
The villagers insist they have legal rights to the land, which was included as part of the archaeological site that is home to one of the largest Khmer temples in the country.
They also said the department made the declaration without first listening to the opinions of affected locals.
By not doing so, the department is believed to be in violation of Section 58 of the constitution, a source said.
A meeting was held yesterday to try and resolve the dispute. It was led by the Office of the Ombudsman and attended by department deputy director-general Phanombut Chantharachot and affected residents.
via Bangkok Post, 22 Feb 2019 and other sources: A private collector from Thailand returns over 100 artifacts to the Fine Arts Department. It is not stated how the artifacts came to his possession.
Collector Thammarit Jira has donated 104 historical artifacts dating back as far as 4,300 years to the government for safekeeping as national treasures.
They were handed over at the Bangkok National Museum on Friday, where they were accepted by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“These ancient objects are very precious and useful for the study of archaeological subjects and Thai history… This is a good example, and will encourage Thai people, including younger people, to love and protect our national treasures,” Gen Prayut said.
The prime minister said Mr Thammarit’s action should inspire other collectors to follow suit.
via Bangkok Post, 01 Feb 2019: The original headline of the story was terrible (‘Sanitising history’) but the news is in fact a welcome one – a new policy by the Fine Arts Department bans styrofoam food containers from Thai historical parks.
Historical parks and learning centres under the Fine Arts Department nationwide will be free of styrofoam food containers soon under a new environmentally friendly policy.
Anandha Chuchoti, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, has revealed that the department has issued an announcement on reducing and banning the use of food containers made of styrofoam at all historical parks and learning centres under the supervision of the department.
Under the new policy, cooperation has been sought from all the agencies under the department and food vendors operating at any such parks and centres to curb and stop using styrofoam food containers.
via The Nation, 02 November 2018: Puen Ruam Thang, led by veteran singer Suthep Prayoonpitak, told media last week that it had “renovated” more than 200 temples – including those registered as monuments – across the Kingdom and plan to continue doing so.
IMMEDIATE ACTION is required to renovate the hundreds of historical temples painted in gold across the Kingdom, the Fine Arts Department said early this week.
via The Nation, 01 November 2018:
THAILAND IS hoping to recover 60 looted Thai artifacts from overseas, the Culture Ministry announced yesterday.
via Bangkok Post, 19 and 20 September 2018: Residents in Phimai are protesting against the local Fine Arts Department head over plans to demarcate the entire municipality of Phimai as a historical site.
The Fine Arts Department infuriated many residents in Phimai municipality when it announced earlier it would proceed with the redemarcation of the historical area because nobody had raised objections to the plan within the set 30-day period.
Many residents want only the Khmer temple ruins in Phimai Historical Park and the ancient ponds as a historical site, not the whole municipality.
The protestors say that becuse of Mr Jaruk they live “without confidence and feeling insecure” for fear of eviction, because the new, expanded historical site would include their land and property.
via Khaosod English, 02 August 2018: The ceramics returned were from Ban Chiang. Thailand previously repatriated Ban Chiang ceramics from the Bowers Museum in 2014, and is still looking at 14 more artifacts housed in the Honolulu Museum of art.
Prehistoric artifacts dating back thousands of years to some of the earliest people in Southeast Asia have been returned to Thailand by an American collector, officials announced Thursday.
Source: Ancient Thai Artifacts Returned by American Collector
via Khaosod English, 08 March 2018: Last week we celebrated International Womens’ Day, and Khaosod English profile Jo Sankhaprasit, a female underwater archaeologist in Thailand.
Dive into the Gulf of Thailand with Pornnatcha “Jo” Sankhaprasit in search of the relics and secrets of a 700-year-old shipwreck.
via Bangkok Post, 04 March 2018: Developing story over the last week, as residents from Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima Province protest the planned action of the Fine Arts Department to declare the Phimai area as a historic site. The historic site designation will impose some restrictions such as prohibiting construction over two storeys tall, but some locals are reportedly afraid that they will be evicted. See other related stories in the links below.
NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Despite the Fine Arts Department’s move to declare a 2,600-rai area in Phimai Municipality a historic site, a large number of tourists were still visiting the Khmer temple ruins in the Phimai Historical Park in Phimai district on Sunday.
- Phimai people want ruins declared historic site, not entire town (Bangkok Post, 3 Mar 2018)
- 300 Phimai residents protest over ‘historic site’ ruling (Bangkok Post, 3 Mar 2018)
- Phimai historical park locals can stay (Bangkok Post, 1 Mar 2018)
via Bangkok Post, 17 Feb 2018:
After being closed for three years for renovations that cost 34.8 million baht, the Nan National Museum has recently reopened — only to be greeted with trenchant criticism over the outcome of the refurbishment.