Friday, March 22, 2013

National Museum BAN CHIANG

Gallery 3: Archaeological Work In Ban Chiang Display
Last week my wife and I finally got to tour the National Museum BAN CHIANG in Ban Chiang which is located east of our home in Udonthani. The museum is the centerpiece of the Ban Chiang World Heritage site.

The National Museum BAN CHIANG is a compound consisting of three buildings situated in a fenced in park like setting.  The museum first opened to the public in 1981.  In 2006 renovation of the museum were started with the museum reopening to the public in 2010.

Visitors to the museum first go to the HRH Princess Sri Nagarindra, the Princess Mother Building.  This building is where you pay entrance fees to the museum.  There is also a small snack bar, souvenir shop, and an auditorium.  The museum is open everyday except for Mondays from 9:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M.  The cost for Thai people is 30 Baht ($1.00) and 150 Baht ($5.00 USD) for foreigners.

The second building, The Galyani Vadhana Building, houses 9 galleries on two levels.  The galleries are:

          Gallery 1:  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Ban Chiang

Displays and photographs documenting the visit on March 20, 1972 of His Majesty King Bhumibol        Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirkit to the Ban Chiang excavation site.

2300 - 1800 Year Old Pot

          Gallery 2:  Archaeology In Ban Chiang

Exhibits related to Thai and foreign archaeological work in the area.

          Gallery 3:  Archaeological Work In Ban Chiang

One of my favorite galleries - it recreates the work environment during the 1974-1975 excavation by the University of Pennsylvania.

           Gallery 4:  Ban Chiang:  The Excavation Pits

Downstairs from the previous galleries, Gallery 4 is a reproduction of excavation pits.

          Gallery 5:  Artifacts from the Excavation at Wat Pho Sri Nai

Pottery, stone tools, iron tools, and  bronze ornaments from an excavation site 500 meters east of the museum.

Bronze Ornaments

          Gallery 6:  Prehistoric Culture of Ban Chiang

Several dioramas showing prehistoric pottery making, weaving, metal making, hunting, and farming in the ban Chiang area.

          Gallery 7:  Ban Chiang: Discovery of a Lost Bronze Age

Another of my favorite galleries which is adapted from a 1982 to 1986 international traveling exhibition organized by the University of Pennsylvania.

Human Bronze Age Remains

Evidence of Early Surgery

Long Before Coke, Pepsi - Humans Had Periodontal Disease

          Gallery 8:  Ban Chiang: A World Heritage Site

A gallery related to Ban Chiang's selection as UNESCO World Heritage Site Number 359.

          Gallery 9:  Distribution of Ban Chiang Culture Sites

Since 1972, 127 prehistoric sites associated with the Ban Chiang culture have been discovered in the Sakon Nakon basin here in Northeast Thailand.  This galley displays many artifacts from the various sites.

The third building of the museum houses a gallery that is related to the Tai Phuan people, a minority from Laos, that settled Ban Chiang 200 hundred years ago.  For some inexplicable reason, we did not visit the gallery or the nearby archaeological pit at Wat Pho Sri Nai.  Perhaps it was destiny - to reaffirm my desire and need to return in the future to photograph rice planting and rubber cultivation in the vicinity.

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