The United Nations Science, Education and Cultural Organization has recognized Ban Chiang archaeological site as a world cultural heritage in 1992.
Ban Chiang is an archaeological excavation site in Nong Han district of Udon Thani province, about 47 km east of Udon city.
This archaeological site was first discovered in 1957 by Steve Young - an anthropology student at Harvard University, USA. Immediately, this relic site attracted the attention of archaeologists as well as the people. Archaeological excavations were first started in 1967. During this excavation archaeologists found many skeletons and artifacts buried in bronze. Not only that, in the excavated objects, archaeologists found rice chips, which proved that farmers had settled here thousands of years ago. Many tombs were also discovered during the excavation in 1967, including ancient tombs dating back to the Bronze Age, belonging to neolithic culture - the late Iron Age culture.
Human artifacts and bones were excavated from Ban Chiang archaeological site
During the following years, Ban Chiang Archaeological Site experienced many excavations in which the third excavation from 1974 - 1975 was the most important. During this excavation, the excavated area was 215 square meters, archaeologists collected 18 tons of relics and 126 sets of people from the houses one of the sites. The cultural floors here are divided into 6 stages. Phase 1 and 2, between 3600 and 2900 BC: there were brass items such as spears, bracelets, anklets, black and gray pottery, patterned or engraved. Phase 3, around 2000 BC: began to have engraved pottery with beautiful patterns. Phase 4, about 1600 - 1200 BC: appeared iron and pottery engraved colored lines. Stage 5, about 1000-500 BC: there are weapons and iron tools, besides brass ornaments, colored ceramics developed. Stage 6, around 300 - 200 BC: only ceramic red shirt, no longer colored, with glass jewelry.
Excavated artifacts are displayed at Ban Chiang Museum
In recent years by the method of thermochromatic dating, archaeologists have analyzed many antiquities and determined their dates dating back to the 5th century BC (4420 to 3500). this means that the area dates back to the earliest of the world's bronze cultural relics.
However, in the archaeological excavations of 1974-1975 with full carbon dating methods, scientists said that the results of these antiquities had started later. Accordingly the oldest tomb dates to about 2100 BC and the latest dating back to 200 years after Christ. The production of bronze tools was also proven to be around 2000 years BC with metal cookware and copper chips found in the site. In this search there were many artifacts found, especially among them there were many jewelry such as bracelets, rings, anklets . and tools for hunting and gathering like axes and noses. spears, hooks, blades, small pins and ropes .
Stamps and photos of Ban Chiang archaeological site.
To protect the site and promote this heritage to a large number of visitors, the Thai government has built a museum to store and display the antiquities that have been found. However, unlike other Thai heritage recognized as a world heritage by Unesco, which is very attractive to tourists, Ban Chiang archaeological site does not attract the attention of tourists despite the Main Government has many promotional programs and plans.
Not receiving the favor of tourists, Ban Chiang received special attention from world archaeologists and smugglers. In 2008, a study in the New York Times concluded that many illegally trafficked artifacts outside Thailand were exploited from Ban Chiang archaeological site. The benefits from illegal trade in antiquities have made people not report to local authorities when they find pieces of stock in the garden or in their fields. Currently, this issue is still one of the most pressing problems that need to be solved thoroughly and is a challenge for Ban Chiang Heritage Area Management Board and Thai authorities.
Of the five Thai world heritage recognized by Unesco , Ban Chiang archaeological site is the least attractive place for visitors. Therefore, the Thai government is still taking measures to promote this monument to develop heritage value and attract tourists.