Ban Chiang is considered the most important prehistoric settlement discovered in South-East Asia.
Discovered in 1957 it attracted enormous publicity due to attractive red painted pottery. The first scientific excavation was made in 1967 and uncovered several skeletons together with bronze grave gifts. Rice fragments have also been found, which prove that the Bronze Age settlement was made by farmers. The oldest graves found contain no bronze and are therefore from a Neolithic culture; the latest ones are from the Iron Age.
Torben Retboll - January 2016
We visited the Ban Chiang National Museum in January 2016. This archaeological museum is located ca. 50 km east of Udon Thani, the provincial capital.
It is a wonderful museum with a great exhibition. All items on display are described with labels in Thai and in English. The presentation is excellent.
We recommend you set aside at least two hours to go through the exhibition. There is a lot to see and to learn here.
Unfortunately, I have to add two negative points in this review:
(1) The museum uses double pricing. Thai citizens may enter for 30 TB, while foreigners must pay 150 TB. Foreigners have to pay five times more than Thais! How can the museum think that this makes the foreign visitor feel welcome?
(2) The museum has produced a guidebook about the collections. The book is available in Thai and in English. The price is 100 TB. We could see the books in a glass counter opposite the counter where you buy the tickets to enter the museum. But it was not possible to buy the guidebook! Why not? We were told that the member of staff who has the key to the glass counter was not at work on that day.
So they have the book and we could see the book, but it was impossible to buy it, because the person with the key was not present! The person who sold the tickets did not care. She just said: "No staff today."
How can the director of the museum allow this situation? Why is the person who sells the tickets not allowed to sell the official guidebook?
The museum is highly recommended, but the administration of the museum should be fair (no double pricing) and should be more modern (the book shop should be open when the museum is open).
Munira Sultana - November 2013
Before my visit on Ban Chiag I have no idea about it. i visited on May 2005. it is simply a interesting Archaeological site.
John Booth - April 2012
To reach Ban Chiang I took a bus travelling from Udon Thani to Nakhon Phanom which dropped me at the turn-off for the village. Here several tuktuks were lined up awaiting potential customers, so I hired one to travel the 6 km to the National Museum. This brand new building housed a plethora of information, not only about the Ban Chiang excavations but also about life in the region thoughout the ages.
Afterwards I walked the 500 metres to one of the excavation sites, located in the courtyard of the Wat Pho Sri temple. This site was slightly underwhelming, and would have been quite meaningless had I not visited the museum first.
Frederik Dawson - May 2011
Beneath the soil of the village of Ban Chiang in Northeastern Thailand is where one of the oldest Bronze Age civilizations discovered in Asia with its unique designed potteries which can be found in many important museum in Europe; however, the site itself maybe the least visited WHS in this country. My visit to Ban Chiang happened while I was on my way to Laos and stopped at Udonthani which is the nearest city to Ban Chiang Village.
Just only 45 minute from Udonthani, I was at the village of Ban Chiang, the village was quite large and located on the big hill and decorated with many supersize reproductions of Ban Chiang potteries. The archeological site itself was divided into 2 areas, which I visited them both. The first area was the Ban Chiang National Museum; the museum itself was very well displayed of all discoveries in the area especially from the main archaeological sites behind the museum. From the museum I went to the second area, this area was located inside the Buddhist temple with smaller archaeological site showing many skeletons of ancient people and countless potteries.
I had to admit that I had no idea how to compared Ban Chiang with other archaeological site as this place is quite totally different from other archaeological site I had visited, small but very interesting, and its potteries were really beautiful. This humankind civilization was really unique that have to be seen and admired on. Ban Chiang,in my opinion, another great World Heritage Site.
Gary Reinoehl and Rebecca Brown
My wife and I visited Ban Chiang on 1/11/04. The directions to the museum were a little bit unclear, and to the excavation site, they were non-existent - at least in English. The new buildings were under construction for the new museum facility. The exhibits were those for the traveling exhibit. These were still very good exhibits. We hope to be able to go to the site again when the new buildings are open. We visited this web site because there was no information available at the museum for us that would provide more extensive information that had been part of the exhibit. It would be very helpful if something additional could be offered for sale that covers the subject more and provides photos. We found publications at other archeological sites, such as Wiang Kum Kam, Ayuthaya, etc.
The excavation pit had been undergoing some work as well. Many bags [of archeological materials?] were stacked on the side of the excavation pit and some access to viewing the site was barricaded. Some of the skeletal materials and ceramics could still be seen in the side walls. The profiles had not been cleaned recently, so the profiles were difficult to see, but some detail was evident.
As an archeologist, I truly hope the excavation site becomes more prepared for interpretation for the public for their education. This is a very important site and needs more public awareness and exposure to both Thai people and foreign visiters. Few tour books highlight this site, and we sought it out because of our personal interest. It would have been exciting to see the results of additional research incorporated into the museum presentation, and planned excavations or continued research, especially in light of more recent techniques available for analysis of artifacts and human remains. This would provide a more dynamic and exciting exhibit. Perhaps these things haven't been done because there is no one doing them, or there is no money available to fund them.
This is the kind of site I would truly love to work on after being in this profession for 25 years! If there are any excavation opportunities, I would certainly like to know about them.
Thank you for an absolutely wonderful experience!!
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Full name: Ban Chiang Archaeological Site
1992 - InscribedReasons for inscription
1991 - ReferredBureau - pending more study of Ban Chiang and comparative studies of similar sites
The site has 6 connections.
- Cemeteries "The 1974 excavation of Ban Chiang revealed Bronze Age graves over a Neolithic cemetery,.."
World Heritage Process
- Inscribed on a single criterion only iii. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared