Ban Chiang National Museum, Udon Thani Province


Ban Chiang National Museum

Located at Tambon Ban Chiang, Amphoe Nong Han, the museum puts on exhibition various steps of archaeological excavation, prehistory and prehistoric artifacts of northeastern Thailand, as well as excavations, tools, pottery, ancient technology, and artifacts of Ban Chiang. An exhibition on Ban Chiang once put on display in U.S.A. is also exhibited. Open daily except Mondays, Tuesdays, and national holidays from 5.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.

Ban Chaing, Thailand - The place the world forgot seven thousand years ago.
Udon is a province in the northeastern of Thailand, not far from Vietnam and Laos. An unbelievable story happened in that area, which have interested many archeologists. Ban Chiang is not far from Udon, about 50 kilometers by car, and is situated on a large plateau. According to the eldest resident of Ban Chiang, a 92 year-old man said that, nearly two centuries ago there were four families who immigrated from Chiang Khwang, Laos by crossing the Khong River. They settled down on a large plateau in forest full of big trees. Four persons, hand in hand, still could not embrace some of them. The plateau area had an abundance of water and a variety of animals. The settlement was well situated for farming, fishing, raising pigs cattles gardening and hunting. Today there are 700 families in the village They are still working as framers,merchants,weavers and owners of tailor and coffee shops. It is amazing that no foreigners have traded there. Although there were once some Chinese and vietnamese businessman, but since their business did not prosper, they had to go away. Now there are only Thai merchants come of whom own and operate restaurants, coffee shops, and tailor shops in the village. On the basis of pottery discovered in PULU VILLAGE next to BAN CHIANG and dating seven centuries to the Sukothai period, historians believed the BAN CHIANG was deserted for three or four centuries before the four families mentioned above, arrived there.
For nearly two centuries residents of the area had noticed many skeletons and other things but they did not realize how important they were. In 1966 a young American bachelor, named Steve Young, came across pieces of broken potteries and informed the Fine Arts Department, which has now given its attention to it and the excavation of the mound at Ban Chiang was begun in the years 1966-1967 and 1972. Many skeletons, skulls, bones of animals, pottery of different shapes and sizes and patterns-red-cream-colour and a swirling geometric, spirals, leaves, thumb-impressed designs were discovered. All are of globular shape at the bottom and flare out in a kind of trumpet design, at the top. They look like the ancient wine pot of Greece or Egypt. Red ocher was discovered: flint, iron and copper weapons-axes, copper hatchet, blades, hoes, short and long spears copper bells, green beads. dark blue beads, glass beads and turquoise were also found.
The Thermo-Luminescence Test conducted by the University of Pensylvania on articles excavated by the Fine Arts Department of the Thai government, testified that the painted pottery in Ban Chiang is 6000-7000 years old. Most of the pieces are similar to those excavated in the Anatolian Plain in Mesopotamia, Iraq and Turkey. Similar green beads copper bells, and magnetic beads have also been found in North and Central America and in Mexico and date from the bronze and stone ages. The Red Indians, the Maya, and the Aztecs, used them as money for a short period. Since they had no single medium of exchange, they used green beads, jade, copper bells of different sizes, clams shells, feathers, hatchets and magnetic beads to barter for things they wanted. It appears then that 5500-5000 B.C. since the people of Asia Minor, the Anatolian Plain, the Indus River Valley, Africa, Greece, Egypt, Europe and China might have migrated or traded with the Red Indians in the North and Central America and Mexico, it is quite possible that Ban Chiang is one of the oldest cities known in the world.
The manner in which the ancient Ban Chiang people buried articles and corpses is very similar to that of the people in Eyenan, Palestine, about 8000 years ago. It is most amazing that the pattern found at Ban Chiang, dates 8000 years back both have the same thumb impressed pattern. Style of painting, red-on-cream color started from Hacilar, Turkey in the years 5500-5000 B.C. or about 7472-6972 years ago, which is the same period as those discoveries of Ban Chiang. From Turkey culture spread out to Europe, Africa, Egypt, India, probably China. Very little has written about South East Asia. Egypt had pottery of red-on-cream type around 3500 B.C. China around 2000 B.C. Kalanay, Philippines and Non Nok Tha, Phu Wiang Khon Kaen around 5000 B.C. All of these dates are the dates for the finds, later than Ban Chiang. Mr. Chester F. Comman from the University of Hawaii, wrote in the Scientific American Magazine that there were Neolithic People in South East Asia; in Northern Thailand in the spirit caves, in Non Nok Tha, Khon Kaen in Hua Binh, north Vietnam, in Formosa, and the Philippines. These people knew how to grow rice, how to grow beans, to hunt, to weave, how to sail along the coast knew the art of invention. It is very sad that no one could write about Ban Chiang since the Thai people only knew how to write about 1000 years ago. It seems the world forgot, or did not know about Ban Chiang. Now there are almost a thousand pieces of pottery of many patterns, in red-on cream colour designs, spirals, and especially thumb impressed patterns, that are the same as the pottery in Jerico and the Anatolian Plain. This has made every body wonder about who were the people of this red-on-cream culture in Thailand.
Is it possible that the people from Ban Chaing migrated to America or across India to Asia Minor or that a group of nomads from Asia Minor came to South East Asia and Thailand, especially to Ban Chiang, and then moved from Ban Chiang to America in that period?
In many other places around Udon, Sakhon Nakhon, pottery of the same shape and colour, and similar weapons, necklaces, and bracelets have been found. Some are made of copper, clay or brass. Many green stone beads, crystal glass and magnetic beads have also been found in these excavations.