Transcending Dvaravati: Diversity of Early States in Central and Northeast Thailand

"Dvaravati," in the general perception, is the early historical period in Thailand that dated about the sixth or seventh to eleventh centuries and is often understood as only Theravada Buddhism culture. The study of this significant period during the last fifteenth year has four essential topics: the idea of the "pre- or proto-Dvaravati period," trade and maritime networks in Davaravati period, the fall of Dvaravati, and a recent debate on Si Thep was the capital of Dvaravati. This brief presentation will discuss the spectacular idea of Dvaravati's capital that has gained much attention in Thailand during the last five years. The author's study also shows the concise history of this country, connections with the neighboring dynasty, the crucial evidence of Pashupati sect royal cult, and the presence of other centers in early-historic Thailand, before and contemporary with Dvaravati.

Saritpong Khunsong

Dr. Saritpong Khunsong completed his BA (Archaeology) from the Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University in 2003, an MA (Art History) in 2005, and a PhD (Historical Archaeology) in 2010 from the same faculty. Presently he is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University. His interest is in the early history of Thailand, particularly Dvaravati Period, as well as the early maritime trade and state development in Southeast Asia. Saritpong's current research focuses on the archaeological evidence of cultural relationships between Thailand and Orissa, the development of ancient Nakhon Pathom prior to the 14th century CE, and the Prasat, Trapeang and Baray Khmer communities of Northeast Thailand during the Baphuon Period (c. 11th-12th century CE). His recent publications include Excavation of Pre-Dvaravati site at Hor-Ek in ancient Nakhon Pathom (Journal of the Siam Society), Dvaravati: The Gateway through Maritime Silk Road, and Ancient U-Thong: The Archaeological Excavation at Noen Phlab-Phla Site in 2015.