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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.134
Creating solidarity among the local people living in an archaeological site: The case of Ban Chiang in Northeast Thailand
The purpose of this study is to examine the process of solidarity creation among the local people based on their relation with the relics excavated from Ban Chiang Archaeological site. This archaeological site is located in Northeast Thailand. It is a prehistoric settlement with funerary areas. Its discovery in 1966 was a sensational event for archaeologists and became a turning point for Ban Chiang history. Ban Chiang, during a short period of time, from an inconspicuous place as it had used to be before, has begun to attract attention of scholars and collectors worldwide. Its discovery has left a significant mark on villagers’ life and the effects have strengthen when the academic and historic value of the site have increased after the registration of Ban Chiang as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. In my presentation I will investigate how villagers transformed their attitude toward the relics in context of the rapid social changes taking places since the discovery. I will describe the process dividing it into three stages: before the discovery, after it, and the current situation. My report will be based on the data obtained during my fieldwork in Ban Chiang when I did interviews with the villagers gathering their opinions on the circumstances related to their possession of relics. In conclusion, I would like to analyze how the awareness of the cultural property has changed as a result of increasing solidarity emerged from mutual infiltration of individual experiences of the villagers and their collective memory.