Prehistoric Thailand: Wikis


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Prehistoric Thailand may be traced back as far as 1,000,000 years ago from the fossils and stone tools found in northern and western Thailand, an archaeological site in Lampang, northern Thailand. The Homo erectus fossil, Lampang Man, dating back 1,000,000 – 500,000 years, was discovered. The stone tools have been widely found in Kanchanaburi, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Lopburi and etc. The cave-paintings are also situated in these regions, dating back 10,000 years ago.


2,500,000 - 120,000 years ago: Lower Palaeolithic


Early Stone Age

The Lower Palaeolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the archaeological record, until around 120,000 years ago when important evolutionary and technological changes ushered in the Middle Palaeolithic.

Early species

The earliest hominids appears in the archaeological record, known as Homo erectus, typified by such fossil as Lampang Man, dating from 1,000,000 - 500,000 years ago, is recognisable as humans.

Homo erectus moved on to Asia from Africa, where it had originated and had learned to control fire to support the hunter-gatherer method of subsistence. Homo erectus' skull was smaller and thicker than that of modern human beings. He lived in the mouth of caves near the streams. His main natural enemies included the giant hyena Hyaena senesis, the sabre-toothed tiger, the orang-utan, and the giant panda.

In 1999, The skull fragments of Homo erectus found by Somsak Pramankit in Ko Kha, Lampang, is compared to a model skull of Sangiran II Man found in Java (Java man), which is 400,000 - 800,000 years old, as well as Peking Man.

Relation to modern Thai people

Nobody asserts that the modern Thai are descendants of the Lampang Man. However, the modern genetic research can support this hypothesis. A recent study undertaken by geneticist showed that there was no inter-breeding between modern human immigrants to Southeast Asia and Homo erectus,[1] affirming that the Thai descended from Africans in accordance with the Recent single-origin hypothesis.[2]

10,000 - 5,000 years ago: Neolithic

New Stone Age

An Acheulean hand-axe found at Omo Kibish

The Neolithic or "New" Stone Age was a period in the development of human technology that is traditionally the last part of the Stone Age. The Neolithic era follows the terminal Holocene Epipalaeolithic periods, beginning with the rise of farming, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution" and ending when metal tools became widespread in the Copper Age (chalcolithic) or Bronze Age or developing directly into the Iron Age, depending on geographical region.


Neolithic culture appeared in many parts of Thailand, Mae Hong Son, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani and about 9000 B.C. People pioneered wild cereal use, which then evolved into true farming.
Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of crops, both wild and domesticated, which included betel, bean, pea, nut, pepper, cucumber[3] and domesticated cattle and pigs. The establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, and the use of pottery.
In Southeast Asia, the independent domestication events led to their own regionally-distinctive Neolithic cultures which arose completely independent of those in other parts of the world.

The Neolithic settlements in Thailand

View of the Khwae Noi River.
  • Spiritual Cave

Spirit Cave (Thai: ถ้ำผีแมน) is an archaeological site in Pang Mapha district, Mae Hong Son Province, north-western Thailand. It was occupied from 9000 B.C. till 5500 B.C. by Hoabinhian hunter and gatherer from North Vietnam. The site is located at an elevation of 650 m. above sea level on a hillside overlooking the Salween River.

  • Wang Bhodi

Wang Bhodi (Thai: วังโพธิ) is an archaeological site in Saiyok district, Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand. Dating from 4500 B.C. till 3000 B.C. Many stone tools have been found in the caves and along the rivers in this region since World War II.

  • Ban Chiang

Ban Chiang (Thai: บ้านเชียง) is an archaeological site located in Nong Han district, Udon Thani Province, Thailand The dating of the artefacts using the thermoluminescence technique resulted in 4420 B.C. - 3400 B.C. dates. The oldest graves found contain no bronze and are therefore from a Neolithic culture, the latest ones are from the Iron Age.[4]

2,500 years ago: Bronze Age

Ban Chiang pottery in the Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin-Dahlem
An earthenware water buffalo from Lopburi, 2300 B.C.

Copper and Bronze Age

The Bronze Age was a period in the civilization's development when the most advanced metalworking consisted of techniques for smelting copper and tin from naturally occurring outcroppings of ore, and then alloying those metals in order to cast bronze. There are claims of an earlier appearance of tin bronze in Thailand in the 5th millennium B.C.

The Bronze Age settlements in Thailand

  • Ban Chiang

In Ban Chiang, bronze artifacts have been discovered dating to 2100 B.C. The earliest grave was about 2100 B.C., the latest about A.D.200. The evidences of crucibles and bronze fragments have been found in this area. The bronze objects include ornaments, spearheads, axes and adzes, hooks, blades, and little bells.[4]

1,700 years ago: Iron Age

The Iron Age was the stage in the development of any people in which tools and weapons whose main ingredient was iron were prominent. People made tools from bronze before they figured out how to make them from iron because iron's melting point is higher than that of bronze or its components, which makes it more difficult to make tools from iron. The adoption of this material coincided with other changes in some past societies often including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles, although this was not always the case.
Archaeological sites in Thailand, such as None Nok Tha, Lopburi Artillery center, Ong Ba Cave and Ban Don Ta Phet show iron implements in the period between 3,400 - 1,700 years ago

The Iron Age settlements in Thailand

  • None Nok Tha

None Nok Tha (Thai: โนนนกทา) is an archaeological site in Phu Wiang district, Khon Kaen Province, northeastern Thailand. Dating from 1420 B.C. till 50 B.C.

  • Lopburi Artillery center

Lopburi Artillery center (Thai: ศูนย์กลางทหารปืนใหญ่) is an archaeological site in Mueang district, Lopburi Province, northeastern Thailand. Dating from 1225 B.C. till 700 B.C.

  • Ong Ba Cave

Ong Ba Cave (Thai: องบะ) is an archaeological site in Sri Sawat district, Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand. Dating from 310 B.C. till 150 B.C.

  • Ban Don Ta Phet

Ban Don Ta Phet (Thai: บ้านดอนตาเพชร) is an archaeological site in Phanom Thuan district, Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand. Dating from 24 B.C. till 276 A.D. Many artifacts found in a 4th century cemetery provide evidence of trade relations with India, Vietnam and the Philippines.

See also


  1. ^ Mapping human history p.130-131.
  2. ^ Multiregional or single origin.
  3. ^ Gorman C. (1971) The Hoabinhian and After: Subsistence Patterns in Southeast Asia during the Late Pleistocene and Early Recent Periods. World Archaeology 2: 300-320
  4. ^ a b Charles Higham (archaeologist)|Higham, Charles, Prehistoric Thailand, ISBN 974-8225-30-5, pp.84-88.

External links

This Ancient Land of Dinosaurs, Siamoid, Siamese, and Thais; English and Thai


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