Author Topic: Ban Prasat archaeological site  (Read 2864 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Ban Prasat archaeological site
« on: August 01, 2010, 10:30:48 AM »

This prehistoric open-air museum is a witness of an early settlement of the Korat Plateau. It is located near the National Highway 2, about 50 km from Korat towards Khon Kaen.

Don will sell their jewelry today. So with a somewhat bad conscience I'm going without her. It is Sunday and the highway is very little frequented. As far as I can see to either side of the road there are no settlements, the area is flat and unattractive. It is early February, so the vegetation is parched and I find it hard to distinguish whether I'm going along barren bush or shrub-fringed rice fields.

After about ¾ of an hour I see the signpost to the archaeological site. I turn left and reach after about one kilometer the village of Ban Prasat. In the heart of the village the road forks. No matter what road I take, according to the directions each is leading to one of the three archaeological sites. The museum, Which according to my conclusion I'm standing in front of now, I want to visit later, so I decide to go left to get to two of these three ancient excavation sites. The path to the individual sites is well signposted and I have no trouble finding No. 3.

In between houses it is located directly on the street. I get off and after 10 meters I am there. The site is open to all sides and roofed. Over a parapet I see in about 4 m depth several skeletons and pottery. The found objects are marked, but I'm unable to decipher what is written on the tags.

In all three accessible pits the human remains and grave enclosures are completely unprotected in the meter-deep sites. Some of them are covered with dust and I recognise usually only a few fragments. Too bad! Otherwise, the sites look clean and well cared for and everything, even the small museum, makes a decent impression. In the excavation sites, of which the oldest is probably 2500-3000 years old, there have been  exposed up to the 60 human skeletons. The enclosed pottery and bronze pieces, and the different levels of the finds suggest different periods of time: Dvaravit and Khmer.

It is assumed that the place Ban Prasat was inhabited continuously since that time. It is astonishing to me that today's residents can very well handle that human skeletons lie directly next to their houses and that maybe even beneath their homes could be more burial sites. Isn't it their belief that the souls of the dead who didn't get burnt wander restlessly as a ghost on earth, and do mischief? Perhaps this is why in the small museum there is built a spirit house, where the villagers can convert the spirits to being peaceful with offerings.

The visitor should not miss to visit this lovingly crafted museum. Like to the sites there is no admission fee. The museum consists of several small buildings, in each of which findings from various eras are exhibiteded.

Unfortunately for my lack of language skills I cannot decipher from the descriptions and therefore remain in the dark on the age, the culture period etc. of the findings. Still they are a grave impression. When do you have the opportunity to look back perhaps thousands or more years in human history?

In the museum some utensils and skeletons are shown. Unfortunately, photographs can not be made so easily because the items are under a plastic cover, which is a bit yellowed and also reflects the light.

The builders of the museum have not only created everything very carefully and clearly, they have also thought of the human needs of visitors and so installed a toilet in the ground floor of the main building. A restaurant I've searched in vain at Ban Prasat, but like everywhere in Isaan you can also purchase something around there to satisfy your thirst and order a snack.

Originally published in German by Werner Schwalm on