|History of Thailand|
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. Homo erectus fossils, Lampang Man, dating back to between 1,000,000 – 500,000 years, have been discovered. Stone tools have been widely found in Kanchanaburi, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Lopburi etc. Many prehistoric cave-paintings have also been found in these regions, dating back 10,000 years.
- 1 2,500,000 - 120,000 years ago: Lower Palaeolithic
- 2 10,000 - 5,000 years ago: Neolithic
- 3 2,500 years ago: Bronze Age
- 4 1,700 years ago: Iron Age
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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.
The earliest hominids, known as Homo erectus and recognisable as human, appear in the archaeological record between 1,000,000 - 500,000 years ago. Locally typified by the fossil, Lampang Man.
About 1,000,000 years ago, Homo erectus moved on to Asia from Africa, where it had originated. Its use and control of fire was very important tool in its hunter-gatherer method of subsistence. Homo erectus's skull was smaller and thicker than that of modern human beings. It lived in the mouth of caves near streams or other water supplies. Its main natural enemies included the giant hyena Hyaena senesis, the sabre-toothed tiger, the orang-utan, and the giant panda.
In 1999, skull fragments of Homo erectus were found by Somsak Pramankit in Ko Kha, Lampang. It was comparable to the skull fossils 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 modern Thais are descendants of Lampang Man. However, 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, affirming that the Thai descended from Africans in accordance with the Recent single-origin hypothesis.
10,000 - 5,000 years ago: Neolithic
New Stone Age
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 BC. 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 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.
Neolithic settlements in Thailand
- Spirit 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 till 5500 BC by Hoabinhian hunter-gatherers 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 to 3000 BC. Since World War II, many stone tools have been found in the caves and along the rivers in this region.
- 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 - 3400 BC. dates. The oldest graves found contain no bronze and are therefore from a Neolithic culture, the most recent ones are from the Iron Age.
2,500 years ago: Bronze Age
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 BC.
The Bronze Age settlements in Thailand
- Ban Chiang
In Ban Chiang, bronze artifacts have been discovered dating to 2100 BC. The earliest grave was about 2100 BC, the most recent about AD 200. The evidence 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.
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. 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
- Lopburi Artillery center
- Ong Ba Cave
- 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 BC till 276 AD. Many artifacts found in a 4th-century cemetery provide evidence of trade relations with India, Vietnam and the Philippines.
- Mapping human history p.130-131.
- Multiregional or single origin.
- 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
- Charles Higham (archaeologist)|Higham, Charles, Prehistoric Thailand, ISBN 974-8225-30-5, pp.84-88.
- This Ancient Land of Dinosaurs, Siamoid, Siamese, and Thais; English and Thai