Buddhism, Hinduism and the native belief system: the interaction of religion at U-Thong, Central Thailan
Paper short abstract:
Recently excavation at U-Thong had unearthed some trace of Hinduism ritual, the Agni Kunda, for the first time in Dvaravati site and mortuary practice which were found under the ancient rampart(11th centuries AD) also showed the native belief of Dvaravati people during 11th centuries AD.
Paper long abstract:
U-thong is one of prominent ancient settlement in the period of Dvaravati situated in the central region of Thailand. There have been many surveys and excavations indicating that people established a settlement on this site from late prehistoric period to 11th century A.D.
In 2010, the archeological project, done in the western area of the site, included 2 test pits in the inner town (Noen Plappla) and another one at the ancient moat. The aim of this excavation was to study about its stratigraphy and land usage functions. The results show that at Noen Plappla area, there are some traces of glass bead industry and metal smelting dated back to 10-11th centuries A.D., and features possibly relating to Hindu rite; Agni Kunda, which was dated 9th century A.D. As for the excavation at the ancient moat, there were some evidences showing human settlement in 5th century A.D. (in the same period as Oc Eo), an inscribed earthenware bowl, early construction of the rampart dated around 8-9th centuries A.D., 2 burials upon the early rampart dated 11th century A.D., and the lasted construction on the early rampart.
The discovery of these traces of Hindu rituals which had not been found in Dvaravati period before and the mortuary practice which probably relates to native beliefs puts a new perspective on Dvaravati study: there is a mixture of local beliefs, Buddhism, and Hinduism which were practiced since the protohistorical period, and some native rituals which continually practiced until 11th century A.D.
Archaeologies of religion: material approaches to the study of belief systems in Southeast Asia