Now part of the Centre for Study and Preservation of Sangkhalok Kiln, the Thuriang kilns were used to fire fine pots, vases and other ceramic products from the 13th to 16th centuries.
The kilns were placed fairly far to the northwest of Si Satchanalai to keep the smoke from polluting the inner city. The area became a major production centre for ceramics that were exported to China, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines. More than 200 individual kilns were discovered during late 20th century excavations, including several that are largely intact.
Protected by roofs and visible from networks of raised footbridges and platforms, two of the largest excavation sites are now open as museums. Visitors can gaze down at the large tunnel, updraft and cross-draft kilns situated near dozens of vases that are still encased in the earth. Some excavated Sangkhalok pottery and other implements, such as lamps and decorative features for temples, are also displayed behind glass.
English info boards relate how the pottery was made and sold, where the clay came from, and the trade routes that spread the finished products across Asia. It all combines for an intriguing look at an industry that helped to turn Sukhothai into a regional power.
Some ancient Sangkhalok pottery is sold alongside no shortage of reproductions at several shops in Ban Ko Noi. If you want to learn more about Sangkhalok pottery, stop by the National Museum in Sawankhalok and the Sangkhalok Museum in Sukhothai.
How to get there
The Thuriang kilns are located five to six kilometres north of the historical park. Take the riverside lane north and you’ll reach the first site on the left, and the second site is 800 metres further north at the end of the road. If you don’t want to backtrack, you can turn back south from the second site on Highway 1201. Admission is 100 baht for both sites.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 17th June, 2016.