Skip to main content

Ancient stupas discovered in Petchabun province

Archaeologists uncovered 24 Buddhist stupas they believe are about 1,300 years old in a national historical park in central Petchabun province last week, the latest find in a yearlong excavation of the area.  The stupas are believed to have been built during the Dvaravati era, a kingdom that predated Thai kingdoms in Southeast Asia.
 
Researchers consider the site to be the most complete religious center from that era ever uncovered in Thailand.  They believe it was used for both Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies and worship.  A laterite Buddhist “dhamma wheel” was also excavated.  A form of stone, laterite was a typical material used in building great structures in ancient Southeast Asia.  The temple complex of Angkor in neighboring Cambodia is also made of laterite.
 
The Dvaravati Kingdom was an ethnic Mon kingdom that flourished from the 6th to the 11th centuries in the lower valley of the Chao Phraya River basin and extended down the Thai peninsula to the Isthmus of Kra.  The Mon originated in western China and today can still be found in Thailand and neighboring Myanmar.  Despite the Mon’s region of origin, the Dvaravati Kingdom was a conduit for Indianized culture and religion in ancient Thailand.
 
The site of the new discovery is near the famous Khao Klang Nai monument in Si Thep Historical Park.  The monument was constructed between the 6th and 7th centuries and historians believe it was used to store treasure and weapons. Phongthan Sampao-ngern, chief ranger at Si Thep Historical Park, said that each stupa was eight yards long and eight yards wide.
 
The ancient city of Si Thep was built during the era when the Khmer empire dominated mainland Southeast Asia. The site was first discovered in modern times in 1905 by Prince Damrong, one of Thailand’s most renowned historians. Si Thep is believed to have been the main point of diplomatic and administrative contact between the Dvaravati Kingdom in the central plains, and the Khmer Empire, which had extended its domain into what is now Thailand’s northeast. The northeast of Thailand is studded with important Khmer ruins, such as Pimai in Nakhorn Ratchasima province.
 
Si Thep Historical Park contains over 100 ancient structures, many adorned with elaborately carved lintels, plaster designs and other ornaments. The town was surrounded by moats.
 
Its largest religious structure is Phrang Si Thep, a towering stupa made of bricks and laterite. The base is in a lotus design, similar to Khmer architecture, while the relic chamber is made of bricks. Built after Khao Khlang Nai, the phrang contains engraved lintel fragments from the 11th  and 12th centuries.
 
See the orginal article at Thailand Focus

Share this article

thailandtoday thailandtoday thailandtoday

thailandtoday thailandtoday thailandtoday

thailandtoday thailandtoday thailandtoday

thailandtoday thailandtoday thailandtoday

thailandtoday thailandtoday thailandtoday

thailandtoday thailandtoday thailandtoday

thailandtoday thailandtoday thailandtoday