I spent in Udon Thani and Ban Chiang, a small town not far, several days as guest of good friends.
The city Udon Thani is quite nice, not too much crowded and polluted as many are already also in north Thailand.
I was on my way back from Laos and after several weeks there enter in Thailand made me feel really at home.
Definitely it worth to visit the museum in Ban Chiang where are kept several unique Bronze Age crafts and potteries.
The archaeological site of Ban Chiang is important evidence of a prehistoric population that settled in Southeast Asia. Many objects come from the ancient civilization of Ban Chiang, which occupied north-eastern Thailand around 1000 b.C.
Artifacts, including ornaments of bronze and iron, as well as pottery with sophisticated and unique designs, attests to the advanced culture of this prehistoric settlement.
In 1992 Ban Chiang was listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.
Ban Chiang’s villagers uncovered some pottery without insight into its age or historical importance but was in August 1966 that Steve Young, an anthropology and government student at Harvard College, living in the village conducting interviews for his thesis, discovered the site.
Young recognized that the firing techniques used to make the pots were very rudimentary but that the designs applied to the surface were unique and wonderful.
During the first formal scientific excavation in 1967, several skeletons, together with bronze grave gifts, were unearthed.
The site’s oldest graves do not include bronze artifacts and are therefore from a Neolithic culture; the most recent graves date to the Iron Age.
The first dating of the artifacts using the thermo luminescence technique resulted in a range from 4420 B.C. to 3400 B.C., which would have made the site the earliest Bronze Age culture in the world.
However in 1975 excavation sufficient material became available for radiocarbon dating, which resulted in more recent dates. Bronze objects include bracelets, rings, anklets, wires and rods, spearheads, axes and adzes, hooks, blades, and little bells.
The site again made headlines in January 2008 when thousands of artifacts from the Ban Chiang cultural tradition and other prehistoric traditions of Thailand were found to illegally be in several California museums and other locations.
This was brought to light by a National Park Service agent posed under cover as a private collector.
If the US government will lose the case, which is likely to take several years of litigation, the artifacts have to be returned to Thailand.
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– Udon Thani and Ban Chiang pictures / Thailand – portfolio © www.artphotoasia.net –