More than 10 ancient sites in Thailand had been destroyed in the past 30 years, including some by building encroachments on the Ayutthaya Historical Park and World Heritage Site, Fine Arts deputy chief Anek Sihamas said yesterday.
In Bangkok, too, buildings of architectural value had been pulled down, he said.
As a result, the department would educate the public about the value of ancient sites and revive projects for local volunteers to work on art and culture heritage conservation, Anek said.
Department chief Sahawat Naenna said 2,000 out of Thailand’s 8,000 ancient sites had been registered for protection. The rest were still in the process because the department could register only about 100-150 sites each year. Consequently many unprotected sites were being destroyed.
Sahawat said he would initially propose pending-registration sites to be listed as national ancient sites until listed in the Royal Gazette. The public would then realise their value and notify the department prior to any renovation or modification.
Despite the Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums Act 1961, Anek said many areas had seen encroachment and demolition of ancient sites. More than 10 registered ancient sites, as well as other not-yet-registered ancient sites, had been destroyed or modified in the past 30 years.
In the Northeast, ancient cities in Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi Et and Kalasin had been turned into farmland by villagers who didn’t know the sites were of archaeological value, he said.
In northern areas like Chiang Rai and Phayao, it was found that locals had built new pagodas covering ancient ones. In Central Thailand, especially Ayutthaya, some buildings had been constructed on the Ayutthaya Historical Park and World Heritage Site; while in Bangkok old buildings of architectural value had been demolished, he added.