Pira Venunan

An Archaeometallurgical investigation of the 9th Century AD iron smelting technology in Thailand with regard to Ban Kruat Area, Burirum

This research aims to technologically and socioeconomically understand the 9th century AD iron production in Ban Kraut, Burirum province, Thailand where nearly 67 slag mounds were located by Living Angkor Road project. On the basis of the concepts of the chaîne opératoire, the technological style and choice and the organisation of production, the questions addressed in this research involve the reconstruction of the production sequences in particular the processes (the primary and/or secondary production), the type of raw material and technical ceramics, the construction of technical ceramics, the operation and efficiency of smelting processes and, importantly, variations in iron smelting practice. These results will inform not only the metallurgical activity and the regional technological tradition but also the specialisation and organisation of iron production of this area. The cross-comparison between Ban Kruat area and other iron production sites of contemporary and different periods will aim to investigate the technology synchronically and diachronically. Apart from this technological dimension, a broader exploration into socio-economic issues will be attempted in order to investigate the production, the consumption and the distribution of products. Thus, from a wider perspective, this research aims to clarify the relationship between the Ban Kruat area and the Khmer civilisation.

The commonly known methods in the archaeometallurgical study such as metallography, SEM-EDS and ED-XRF will be used to gain information regarding microstructural and chemical compositional data of the archaeological materials and inform the technological reconstructions. Statistical methods will be used to reveal trends or groupings based on the chemical compositions of large quantities of slags or metallurgical remains.

Funding organisation

  • Royal Thai Government


 Educational background

  • BA, Archaeology, Silpakorn University, 2005
  • MA, Prehistoric Archaeology, Silpakorn University, 2010
  • MSc, Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials, UCL, 2011
  • Areal View of Furnace Remains at Ban Khao Din Tai
  • Excavation Pit of Ban Sai Tho 7 Archaeological Site, Ban Kruat, Burirum Province, Thailand
  • Probable Smithing Hearth and Slags Area at Ban Sai Tho 7
  • Ban Khao Din Tai Archaeological Site, Ban Kruat, Burirum Province, Thailand

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