Special Talk and Seminars on the Archaeology of Ban Chiang to commemorate 185 years of Thai-US diplomatic relations

national September 27, 2018

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On the occasion of the 185th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Thailand and the United States, the Department of American and South Pacific Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Ban Chiang National Museum of the Department of Fine Arts, and the Department of Archaeology, Silpakorn University, in collaboration with the Institute for Southeast Asian Archaeology (ISEAA), the United States of America, will organise activities to further promote Thai - US cooperation on the archaeology of Ban Chiang in Bangkok and UdonThani Province during 19 - 21 September 2018. Representatives from relevant government agencies, academics, students, professionals from tourism industry, media, and the general public are expected to attend.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited Dr. Joyce White, Executive Director of the ISEAA and member of the Thai-US excavation team of the Ban Chiang Archaeological Site during 1974 - 1975, and Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau, Specialist for Ceramics, Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials, University of Pennsylvania Museum, as distinguished speakers to present the current research and new findings on the archaeology of Ban Chiang, in particular the use of multi-disciplinary approach such as archaeometallugy and ethnobotany in broadening and deepening the understanding of those who lived in Ban Chiang and nearby areas in the prehistoric era, including their way of life, society and culture, among others. 

Activities include a special talk on “Ban Chiang’s Lessons for Global Problems” by Dr. White on 19 September 2018 at the Bangkok National Museum, and seminars related to the latest research and findings on Ban Chiang during 20 – 21 September 2018 at the Bangkok National Museum and the Ban Chiang National Museum, UdonThani Province.

Dr. VijavatIsarabhakdi, Advisor to the Foreign Ministry, stated in his opening remarks that the Ban Chiang project continues to remains relevant to the studies of archaeology.

He added that the joint efforts between the two countries have broadened and deepened the valuable knowledge about the archaeological history in the region and it would help foster even closer bonds and cooperation between two the countries.

 The Thai-US cooperation on the archaeology of Ban Chiang began 50 years ago with the discovery of ancient potteries in Ban Chiang in 1966 by Mr. Stephen Young, the son of then US Ambassador to Thailand, which led to the joint excavations of Ban Chiang by the Department of Fine Arts of Thailand and the University of Pennsylvania. The joint excavations led to the discovery of a New Stone Age civilisation dating around 5,000 years B.C. The importance of Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is recognised by UNESCO, which listed it as Thailand’s fourth World Heritage Site in 1992.

The success of Thai-US cooperation on the archaeology of Ban Chiang was also a result of the Royal Recommendations of His Majesty the Late King BhumibolAdulyadej during the Royal Visit to Ban Chiang excavation site in 1972 whereby His Majesty emphasised the importance of joint scientific research between Thai and foreign agencies to present the findings of Ban Chiang excavation in spirit of conservation to the villagers and visitors alike. 

The longstanding Thai-US relations through the story of Ban Chiang serves as an outstanding example of the important role of Thai and American peoples in initiating, pushing forward, and realising the goal of mutually beneficial cooperation, and in the conservation of this World Heritage Site for generations to come.

To further celebrate the 185th anniversary of Thai-US diplomatic relations, today the Royal Thai Government, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is organizing the 'Two Centuries of Thai-US Friendship and 185 Years of Diplomatic Relations' reception and musical performance of royal compositions at the Library of Congress, which was presided over by H.E. Mr. VirasakdiFutrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Thai Government, and attended by Senator Tammy Duckworth (Illinois) and executives from prominent Thai companies