Symbols and Meaning of Prehistoric Rock Art in Thailand
At present, more than 410 rock art sites have been discovered in Thailand. They can be divided into two groups: Historical sites, built under religion like Buddhism or Hinduism, and Prehistorical sites, considered to be communal art, created to serve the community rather than individual pleasure. Usually, the distinct scenes reflect the way of life in the past and are related to some socio-religious rituals such as hunting, cultivating, herding, food gathering, dancing, sex, and ritual ceremonies. However, most sites in Thailand cannot be readily identified because they only display some symbols as graphic signs or hand and foot prints. Archaeologists try to translate these symbols and assume that they were a part of the language to communicate between the population in the same group or to connect with the supernatural. Although the big question about the true meaning of the symbolic interpretation of rock art still remains, at least the different symbols and styles are a good evidence that helps us separate the diversity of prehistoric groups in each region of Thailand.
About the speaker
Miss Thippawan Wongadsapaiboon graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University. She had been working for seven years as a researcher and archaeologist assistant with About Art Foundation and the 3rd regional office of fine arts, Ayutthaya, before becoming an archeologist at the 8th regional office of Fine Arts, Khon Kaen in 2010. She is interested in ancient settlement patterns, E-san culture, and rock art. Her interest in rock art started after she discovered four new rock art sites in Chum Pae district, Khon Kaen province in 2011. From then, she has been running projects to survey and research rock arts in the upper part of Northeastern Thailand. She has experience in the excavation of more than 30 sites such as Dong Lakorn ancient town, Sri Than ancient town, Wat Nakha Thewi, Muak Lek reservoir, etc.
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