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Prehistory of Thailand


Most of Thai history is shrouded in mystery, but obviously it started before the Thais had settled here.

About 7000 years ago a civilization lived in Ban Chiang in the northeast of Thailand. They decorated clay pottery with beautiful "ribbon pattern ceramics".

Hunter-gatherers lived in the caves near Soppong in the northwest of Thailand 13000 years ago.

And even 25000 to 35000 years ago people lived in the caves of present-day Krabi province.

An evidence of prehistoric civilization was found near
Pha Thaem in the northeast of Thailand and they left cave and rock paintings which date back 3000 to 4000 years.
The Ban Chiang People

Around 1970, pieces of pottery were found near the village  of Ban Chiang in the northeast of Thailand during large-scale excavations. These were beautifully decorated with elegant cords, so-called "cord marked patterns". They can be dated back 7000 years. Weapons and various tools were dug up as well. The people living here ate rice and since 1700 BC they used bronze tools that were cast in sandstone molds.
This was an archaeological break-through, because until then scientists assumed that the oldest civilization in Asia and maybe even the "cradle of humanity" was in China. Clearly the Ban Chiang civilization predated it.



The People of Tham Lot

The stalactite-stalagmite cave Tham Lot near Sappong in Mae Hong Son province was used by hunter-gatherers as early as 12000 years ago. They already introduced wild rice about 9000 years ago. Many other archaeological discoveries were made in the vicinity dating back 400 to 11500 years. Hunter-gatherers lived around here in about 26 places.




The People of Krabi

People lived in caves in present-day Krabi province already 25000 to 35000 years ago. Lang Rongrien cave located about 15 km north of the city of Krabi was discovered only in 1982. It could possibly be one of the oldest settlement in Asia. Until today, evidence of cave dwellings have been found, including simple stone tools, pearls, earrings, human bones and even cave paintings.

About 9000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, the sea level rose to its present level. The prehistoric Krabi people settled in caves near the sea and their diet was enriched by mussels whose shells can be still found today.

2000 to 3000 years ago the cave men produced rock paintings with illustrations of human beings and animals colored in ocher and black.




Pha Taem

Impressive prehistoric rock paintings are found in the east of Thailand high above the Mekhong river in Pha Thaem National Park. Below overhanging rocks, for a length of 100 m and a height of 3 m, there are about 300 rock paintings in brown and red colors (a kind of hematite); among them are illustrations of humans, animals, tools and jars and hundreds of hands (predominantly in negative). An illustration of an impressive elephant occurs at the beginning of the frieze. A realistic illustration of a pla beg (a large type of catfish from the Mekhong river) is found; weighing more than 200 kg it is supposed to be the largest Asian freshwater fish. The paintings date back about 3000 to 4000 years.


More information by Department of National Parks:
http://web3.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/style1/default.asp?npid=19&lg=2


Sketch of the widest Gallery at Pha Taem
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