Author Topic: Rockwood Fossils Park, Korat: From the Miocene  (Read 5120 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Rockwood Fossils Park, Korat: From the Miocene
« on: July 11, 2010, 03:07:34 PM »
From the Miocene

A visit to the Rockwood Fossils Park in Korat with the Petrified Wood Museum is a journey back to the age of the Miocene and shows Thailand as it was about 16 million years ago. Maybe I hadn't visited it yet, because it is a little off from Korat and well, some fossilized trees are really no particular attraction. But one can be wrong.


16-5 million years ago the current Isaan was presumably a jungle and grassland where the vast herds of animals roamed. In the sandy banks of small streams are therefore now fossils, fossils of dinosaurs, three-legged horses, mammoths with four tusks, and saber-toothed cats and short-neck giraffes. So far hardly noticed, a generously engineered structure in which the remains are exhibited was built not long ago in Korat which  is, so far, free of charge to the public to visit.


This is one of seven prehistoric museums of their kind that exist worldwide, and it can compete with the best, says Pratueng Jintasakul who works as a lecturer at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University. For more than 10 years he researched the early history of his province and has  collected fossil trees the remains of today's elephants as well as extinct dinosaurs found by the ancestors and compiled for exhibition in this museum  .


The museum has an outdoor area, where one can closely approach the petrified trees that by their color look like dried up tree trunks. Only when you knock on them, you realize that it is sedimentary rock, then that may result when a tree has fallen in mineral-rich water. Then, the organic structures of wood get replaced by the crystallizing minerals such as iron oxides, cobalt, manganese, copper and calcium in the course of many years completely lifelike. Even the bark and the rings can still be visible millions of years later.

This museum might also give  a hint, that, perhaps, the cradle of humanity isn't to be sought in Africa but in Southeast Asia. More precisely, at Korat in Isaan, the northeastern Thailand.


After previous conjecture about 4 million years ago  Australopithencinen, that south apes, which are considered precursors of the human race came into existence in East Africa. Paleontologists found near Korat in Nakhon Ratchasima province, however, a 7-8 million year old fossilized jaw of an orang-utan, a hitherto apparently unknown species which is almost identical to today's orangutans. Another feature that it was the Koratpithecus piriyai that might have constituted the precursors of the human race is the presence of a larynx, which suggests a communication within the group.

The excavated U-shaped jaw resembles in no way similar fossils found in Pakistan, China and Europe. Therefore it represents a previously unknown ape, the Korat stage of evolution. This discovery could correct the existing theory on the origin of mankind, and how they transfered to Southeast Asia.

The museum houses not only a large number of petrified trees, but in its three large halls also identified more than 100 fossils, video presentations and a research center.


Much more than for adults this museum complex is of interest to children of all ages. They especially love the replicas of the dinosaurs but also the next to the museum preserved and covered excavation sites. Here they can let their imaginations run freely and learn easily about the past of their homeland.


One should reserve a bit of time to visit this museum. Unfortunately, it is located about 25 km outside the gates near Korat's Suranaree Uiniversity of Technology. Coming from downtown Korat drive the national road 304 towards Korat Zoo and turn right into the second entrance to the University. After about two kilometers keep left at the next fork  and then the museum will be reached after a further km towards Ban Krok Duean Ha.

Originally published by Werner Schwalm in German on

Korat Fossil Museum and Petrified Wood Museum

184 Moo 7 Suranaree Subdistrict,
Mueang District, Nakhon Ratchasima Thailand

Open daily : Tuesday-Sunday 9.00am - 4.00pm
Tel. 044-216617-8

More information at website :


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Re: Rockwood Fossils Park, Korat: From the Miocene
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2010, 11:01:08 PM »
Petrified Wood Park

This Petrified Wood Park located in Tambon Suranari has a collection of over 10,000 petrified wood pieces. These wood pieces were unearthed from just beneath the surface to a depth of 8 meters.

The wood is of various sizes ranging from pebbles to rocks with a diameter of over 50 centimeters, while some pieces are more than 1 meter long. The petrified wood pieces appear in a range of colors and have been aged at between 1 and 70 million years. Provincial authorities plan to turn this area into a petrified wood park and the first museum of its kind in Asia in order to conserve these prehistoric treasures for future generations to study.

To reach the Park, take Highway No. 304 (Nakhon Ratchasima - Pak Thong Chai) for 19 kilometers, turn right into Suranari University of Technology (second gate) and drive for 3 kilometers, turn left onto the Mitraparp-Nong Pling city bypass and drive for 2 kilometers to Wat Krok Duean Ha.

Taken from the Thai Tourism site


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Re: Rockwood Fossils Park, Korat: From the Miocene
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 12:48:00 AM »
Korat Petrified wood Museum video.

Korat Petrified wood Museum


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Re: Rockwood Fossils Park, Korat: From the Miocene
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 08:02:15 AM »
The buildings are impressive and the landscaping is beautiful. You have to ignore the fact that visitors use the outdoor fossil tree stumps as litter bins, though. However, as a museum the place is a big disappointment. Too much space, too many copied items rather than the real thing and too much dressing up of exhibits rather than just showing them. The inspiration for some of the decor must be from Disney. Why do they need so many stages and rostrums in a museum?

I wrote a few lines about my latest visit here: