Gallery of Pictures

Ban Chiang Project

Archaeological excavations in the 1970's at Ban Chiang, northeast Thailand, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, resulted in the discovery of a previously unknown dynamic cultural tradition which dates back 5000 years. Evidence of early agriculture (including domesticated rice), early metallurgy (including early bronze), distinctive decorative pottery, ornaments, and elaborate burial offerings stunned the archaeological world.

Human skeletal remains from the 1974 and 1975 University of Pennsylvania and Thai Fine Arts Department excavations at Ban Chiang, currently stored in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii, provide a wealth of data for bioarchaeological research including evidence on prehistoric health, diet, life span, social status, biological relationships and origins. Dr. Pietrusewsky, who at the invitation of its co-director, Dr. Chester Gorman (PhD, Hawaii, 1971), participated in the 1974 excavations at Ban Chiang, and a number of University of Hawai'i students have been examining these important remains since their initial excavation. Several important publications, including one Ph.D. dissertation, which provide an initial definition of the people from the region and the status of their health, have resulted from this seminal work. Visiting researchers, including Professors C. Loring Brace (University of Michigan), Christy G. Turner II (Arizona State University), Tsunehiko Hanihara (Sendai University), and others, have examined these remains as well.

The monograph on the osteological examination of this material is now available through the University of Pennsylvania Press. Find the announcement and order form here, or purchase it through Amazon.com

Read Book Review by Dr. Bin Yamaguchi (2002 Anthropological Science 10(4):439-437).
Read Book Review by Dr. Clark Larsen (2003 American Journal of Physical Anthropology 120(2):205-206).
Weblink to Review by Dr. Charles Higham (2003 Antiquity 77(298):870-872).
Read Book Review by Dr. Kate A. Robson Brown (2003 Internatioanl Journal of Osteoarchaeology 13(6):390-392).
Read Book Review by Dr. Marc Oxenham (2004 Asian Perspectives 43(1):162-167).

For more information on the skeletons from Ban Chiang, contact Dr. Michael Pietrusewsky <mikep@hawaii.edu>. For information on other aspects of the on-going work on the archaeology of Ban Chiang and how to become a member of Friends of Ban Chiang, please contact Dr. Joyce White <banchang@sas.upenn.edu>. The Ban Chiang homepage is hosted at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ban Chiang burial BC B.23
Ban Chiang burial BC B.23 (Photo: M. Pietrusewsky)

Gallery of Pictures
Skeletons Beneath a Village