Photo: The burial sites were a windfall for archaealogists.

Ban Prasat

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Archaeological excavations at Ban Prasat prove that a community grew rice and raised cattle in the area some 3,000 years ago. Three burial sites are open to the public in this peaceful village, where you’ll also find craftspeople weaving sumptuous silk and hardy reed mats. As a side trip from Phimai, Ban Prasat is absolutely worth a visit.

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Located in the heart of the village, Pit 1 is by far the largest of the three sites and is accompanied by a tiny museum. The oldest skeletons were unearthed at a depth of more than five metres, with 2,500- to 1,500-year-old burials found in the same pit along with large amounts of pottery and some jewellery. Laid out alongside ceramics, several skeletons can be viewed from above in a roofed enclosure with a lot of details provided on English info boards.

You too could just chill at Ban Prasat. Photo taken in or around Ban Prasat, Phimai, Thailand by David Luekens.

You too could just chill at Ban Prasat. Photo: David Luekens

Apart from basic forms of subsistence and burial methods, little is known about where these people came from or what languages they spoke. It’s likely that they were part of the same loosely defined prehistoric civilisation as the skeletons dating from around the same period found at Ban Chiang up in Udon Thani province.

While there’s very little to see in Pit 2, it’s notable for the discovery of a Dvaravati-style Buddha head that suggests members of this Mon-speaking civilisation lived here by the eighth century. Heartbreaking Pit 3 displays the headless skeletons of women and children along with smashed pottery, indicating executions. Their skulls were discovered a half-kilometre away.

Century-old Saphan Takon Rak spans the lotus-filled Tan Prasat River. Photo taken in or around Ban Prasat, Phimai, Thailand by David Luekens.

Century-old Saphan Takon Rak spans the lotus-filled Tan Prasat River. Photo: David Luekens

Ban Prasat is worth a visit even if skeletons creep you out. Humble wood houses, old men swinging in hammocks and chickens clucking around resting cows left us charmed. Just south of Pit 1, a century-old wood footbridge called Saphan Takon Rak (“Shout to Your Love Bridge”) spans the lotus-filled Tan Prasat River. Names of residents mark each house in this tight-knit village, which has won awards for community-based ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Ban Prasat is located 15 km west of Phimai and the excavation pits are open daily from 07:00 to 17:00. Admission is free but donations are appreciated.

If coming with your own vehicle, take Highway 206 west out of Phimai and hang a left (south) on Route 2 before making a U-turn to back track to the side road to Ban Prasat, which is clearly posted in English on a large gate. Alternately you could catch a Khorat-bound bus and tell the driver you’re going to Ban Prasat; you’ll be dropped along the highway and will have to walk or take a motorbike taxi, if there’s one available, for two km to the village.

Ban Prasat
15 km west of Phimai

Location map for Ban Prasat

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