Local Bronze Production From Ban Samranchai, Chaibadan, Lopburi, Thailand

Sorathach Rotchanarat1, Decha Sudsawad2, Jetkamol Wongtaw2, Pariwat Chaimchit2, Chanon Wattanakun2, Phitchayapa Pintasen2

1Fine Arts Department, The 6th Regional Office of Fine Arts, Thailand

2The 4th Regional Office of Fine Arts, Thailand

Prehistoric archaeology was first investigated in Lopburi province in the 1960s, with the first expedition being a Thai-British archaeological excavation at Khok Charoen. This was followed by a collaborative Italian-Thai project, between the Thai Fine Arts Department (FAD) and Italian Institute for the Middle and the Far East (ISMEO). The recent Lopburi Regional Archaeological Project (LoRAP) has substantially increased our understanding of prehistoric past in Central Thailand. For example, archaeologists have found numerous archaeological sites clustered the Lopburi - Pasak river basin dating from the Neolithic to the early historic period. This has included 23 important copper production sites and mines in the Khao Wong Prachan Valley (KWPV). KWPV has produced various diagnostic artifacts that appear to have spread throughout central Thailand. One of these sites is Ban Samranchai (BSC), where diagnostic artifacts have been commonly found related to the intensive copper smelting process at KWPV, and dated to cal. AD 252-117. However, excavations in 2021 at BSC found new evidence that suggests trade and exchange between BSC and KWPV was considerably earlier and longer than previously thought, and can be traced back to KWPV’s early mortuary period between 999 – 768 cal BC. We hypothesize that BSC was a local bronze production site related to the KWPV complex, possibly linked to long-distance exchange in China.