Ban Chiang is an archaeological site where remains of human settlement during prehistoric times have been found. The site is located in Udon Thani province, in the North East part of Thailand.
Ban Chiang is a prehistoric village and burial site inhabited probably from about 1500 BC until about 300 AD. The site provides evidence of transition from Neolithic age (no use of metals) into the bronze age and finally into the iron age.
Settlement in Ban Chiang started during the Neolithic age when man was not yet capable of working with metals. The earliest graves did not contain any bronze or iron artifacts.
The earliest settlers were probably rice farmers, as suggested by some of the finds at the site. Although the earliest datings suggested that settlement in Ban Chiang started during the 5thmillennium BC, later datings using radiocarbon dating have shown that settlement in Ban Chiang started around 1500 BC, during the Neolithic age.
Artifacts found at Ban Chiang
Since discovery of the site several excavations have been carried out. As the modern village of Ban Chiang was built on top of the ancient settlement, excavations have been limited. Thousands of items have been excavated at Ban Chiang. Among them are skeletons, ax heads, clay rollers, bells and large numbers of pottery. Ban Chiang is best known for the red colored ceramic pottery found there in large numbers.
Transition into the bronze and iron age
The finds in the more recent graves show evidence of development in pottery production and ceramic decorative skills and also contain metal items, demonstrating the ability of early man to work with metals and the transition into bronze and iron age.
Bronze was not only used for basic necessities, but also for the manufacture of personal ornaments like anklets, rings and bracelets, demonstrating early man’s advance in human development.
Advance in social development is shown by the inclusion of burial goods in graves, house construction and the use of personal ornaments like bracelets and anklets.
The site is considered to be one of the most important prehistoric archeological sites in South East Asia, as it shows the advance in technology of farming, use of metal for tools and personal ornaments as well as social development.
Demonstrating its importance as an ancient cultural site, Ban Chiang was made an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. One of the excavation areas has been left open with a roof covering it, allowing visitors a view into the work of the archaeologists. A museum at the site exhibits items found at the site including large numbers of the Ban Chiang ceramic pottery.
How to get to Ban Chiang archaeological site
Ban Chiang archaeological site is located in Udon Thani province in North East Thailand. It is located just off the main highway 22 from the provincial capital Udon Thani town to Sakhon Nakhon, at about 60 kilometers from Udon Thani town.
Opening hours & admission
The excavation site in Ban Chiang and the museum are open daily, except Monday from 8.30 am until 4.30 pm. Entrance fee is 150 Thai Baht per person.
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