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Celebrating the Ban Chiang Civilization

February 11, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

Udon Thani province in the Northeast is ready to welcome all visitors to its annual “Ban Chiang Heritage Festival,” which celebrates Thailand’s distant past – the Ban Chiang civilization.

Organized jointly by Udon Thani and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Udon Thani Office, the festival takes place at the Ban Chiang National Museum in Nong Han district from 7 to 9 February 2014.

The 5,600-year-old prehistoric archeological site of Ban Chiang is considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in Southeast Asia. It also marks an important stage in humankind’s cultural, social, and technological evolution. The site, which may well be among the oldest in the world, presents the earliest evidence of farming in the region and of the manufacture and use of metals.

The archeological site of Ban Chiang, together with its surrounding area, was declared a World Heritage Site. It comprises three components. One is the Ban Chiang National Museum with a wealth of artifacts and displays explaining the ancient Ban Chiang culture and technology. The complementary component is an open-air museum in the compound of the monastery named Wat Pho Si Nai, where burial grounds were excavated. Another component of the Ban Chiang World Heritage Site is the prehistoric site of Mueang Nong Han Noi, located nearby.

TAT Governor Thawatchai Arunyik stated that the Ban Chiang era was an important time in Thai history, and the discoveries in Udon Thani offer a glimpse into the past. There are some fascinating things to learn for lovers of history and tourists looking to see a new side of Thailand. In addition, during the Ban Chiang Heritage Festival, there are many activities and sports to see, as well as age-old arts and crafts, so even visitors who are not so interested in the spectacular historic sites will enjoy their time here.

According to TAT, the highlights of the three-day festival will be the archaeological discoveries themselves. The artifacts can be seen for free both at the Ban Chiang National Museum and the fascinating Pho Si Nai archaeological site.

Other activities include cultural shows and music, especially Pong Lang music, which reflects the typical folk arts of the northeastern region. The festival features various displays of Isan, or northeastern, culture, including folk dancing and Thai boxing matches.

There will also be concerts of Mo Lam, which is a traditional performing art well-known in northeastern Thailand, along with boat racing, cooking competitions, an aerobic dancing contest, and a light and sound presentation accompanied by drum performances.

Visitors may dig around the shops for local products, taste the local food, and even emulate the Bronze Age ancestors by attempting to make some Ban Chiang pottery. Ban Chiang is famous for its beautiful red painted pottery.

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