The Ban Kao project: recent excavation at Nong Ratchawat in Suphanburi, Western Thailand
Supamas Doungsakun (The 2nd regional office of Fine Arts, Suphanburi., Fine Arts Department, Thailand)
Paper short abstract:
The paper presents recent excavations at the Neolithic site of Nong Rachawat, Western Thailand. Grave goods found at this burial site suggest a close relationship with Ban Kao. The paper discusses cultural characteristics of Nong Ratchawat and its inter-regional relations.
Paper long abstract:
The paper presents recent excavations at the Neolithic site of Nong Rachawat, in Suphanburi, Western Thailand, where 84 furnished burials have been unearthed. Grave goods found at the site suggest a cultural relationship with the Ban Kao site in Kanchanaburi, a well known site excavated by the late Per Sorensen in 1960s. Ban Kao became prominent for its evidence of agricultural subsistence and distinctive pottery. Research on the Ban Kao Culture has been conducted by FAD since 2003 in order to further understanding of this prehistoric culture. Fieldwork has been carried out extending to areas further from the Kwai Noi river valley, where the Ban Kao culture was originally found. Numerous sites have been identified, particularly in western valley of the Chao Phraya river (Tha Chin river). The paper discusses the result of excavations at Nong Ratchawat. AMS dates suggest site occupation from ca. 2000 to 1800 BC. This date corresponds with Ban Kao's. Despite their close link, certain types of grave goods from Nong Ratchawat reflect their own cultural identity. Some aspects of their burial practice are distinguishable from Ban Kao's and appear to be similar to some sites east of the Chao Phraya river valley (Pa Sak river). Interestingly, pottery analysis has identified imported wares that happen to be a common type in the Pa Sak river valley area. This research sheds new light on the Neolithic culture and the prehistoric chronology of mainland Southeast Asia.
Recent advances in the archaeology of central Thailand