Transcending Dvaravati: History, Archaeology, Controversy, and Future Research

"Dvaravati" in the general perception, is the early historical period in Thailand, dated from the 6th or 7th century CE to the 11th century CE. “Dvaravati” is often understood as only representing the Theravada Buddhism culture. The study of this significant period in Thai history during the last 15 years has focused on four essential topics: the idea of the pre- or proto-Dvaravati period, trade and maritime networks during the Davaravati period, the fall of the Dvaravati, and a recent debate on whether Si Thep was the capital of Dvaravati. In this brief presentation I will discuss spectacular new insights into Dvaravati's capital that has gained much attention in Thailand during the last five years. The paper also presents a concise history of Thailand, connections with the neighboring dynasties, crucial evidence of the 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.