Si Thep Ancient City in Phetchabun Province, known as Si Thep Historical Park, has been recognized as a world cultural heritage site. According to Mr. Krit Kongmuang, the Governor of Phetchabun Province, Si Thep does not only belong to the people of Phetchabun, but to all Thai people and even people from around the world.
In order to preserve the antiquities found in Si Thep, the province is coordinating with various sectors to collect and bring them back to Si Thep Historical Park. These references are currently scattered in different places, and the province aims to gather them all in one location. Additionally, plans are being made to establish a museum in the Si Thep Ancient City Historical Park to display valuable antiques for both citizens and tourists to visit and learn from.
Although there are national museums in other World Heritage cities like Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, they mainly cater to a small group of individuals such as archaeologists, art historians, and antique collectors. However, there is a large group of people in the country, including the general public, tourists, teachers, and students, who are interested in learning about the social, economic, and political history of Si Thep City and its relevance to Thailand and Thai people today.
There are some concerns regarding the relocation of antiquities found in Si Thep City to the National Museum. Past experiences have shown that this process can be time-consuming. For example, antiquities found in Muang Mahosot, Prachinburi Province, had to be transported to the National Museum in Prachinburi, which was about 20 kilometers away from the original site. The villagers of Si Mahosot initially requested the move, but the Ministry of Culture failed to fulfill their promise.
To address these concerns, it is suggested that Si Thep City should have its own museum that focuses on simple historical storytelling rather than complex archaeology. The proposed Muang Si Thep Museum aims to stimulate creativity by providing a cultural infrastructure aligned with the government’s THACCA goal. This museum would showcase the history of Si Thep City, including its location as a transportation hub between the Pa Sak River, Mekong-Chi-Mun River, Chao Phraya River, and Tha Chin-Mae Klong River.
The history of Si Thep City dates back to a village community that practiced farming, animal husbandry, and animism. Around 3,000 years ago, there was a sacred site at Khao Thamorat (Khao Hin Kaew). At the same time, there were two other community networks known as the Lam Takhong Community and the Lopburi River Basin Community. These communities were interconnected through trade routes, with copper trade being prominent around 2,000 years ago.
As trade expanded, Brahmin-Hinduism and Buddhism from India influenced the city community of Pa Sak Junction. This fusion of religions, combined with animism, formed the animist-Brahmin-Buddhist belief system around 1000 BE. The city’s layout featured a round inner city, which was considered a holy area for burying clan leaders, and a long oval outer area for housing the elite.
Si Thep City was a diverse community comprising various ethnic groups who spoke different languages, including Mon-Khmer, Malay-Cham, Tai-Tai, and some from India and China. This network of Si Thep, Lam Takhong, and Lopburi Basin communities had a similar moat and embankment structure.
During the period of Khmer culture, Khmer-speaking people held power in cities within the Lopburi-Pa Sak River Basin, including Si Thep and Lawo. They were referred to as “Khmer” by others and had connections with the Tonle Sap province of Cambodia after 1500 AD. The construction of Phra Prang Muang Si Thep coincided with the construction of other Khmer temples in the region.
However, as trade patterns shifted, a new center emerged in Ayutthaya in the Chao Phraya River Basin. This led to a decline in the importance of Si Thep and Sema cities, eventually resulting in their abandonment around 1700 BE. The people of Si Thep moved to Ayutthaya, and the Thai language and culture became dominant.
One incident that occurred in Si Thep involved the illegal removal of a statue from Khao Thamorat Cave in 1960. The faces of Buddha and Bodhisattvas were cut off, and the statue was stolen. The Department of Fine Arts later notified the police station in Wichian Buri District, Phetchabun Province. Khao Thamorat, meaning “Khao Hin Kaew” in Khmer, is a sacred mountain located about 15 kilometers west of Si Thep City.
In conclusion, efforts are being made to preserve Si Thep’s cultural heritage by collecting antiquities and establishing a museum in Si Thep Historical Park. This will allow both locals and tourists to learn about the historical significance of Si Thep City and its connections to Thailand and Thai people today.
Prang Si Thep when His Royal Highness Prince Damrong Rajanupab visited in 1904. [จากหนังสือ ศรีเทพ กรมศิลปากรพิมพ์ พ.ศ. 2561 หน้า 8]
Author Sujit Wongthet
Si Thep Ancient City Si Thep Historical Park, Phetchabun Province is a world cultural heritage site. Mr. Krit Kongmuang, Governor of Phetchabun Province, said that the ancient city of Si Thep does not belong to the Phetchabun people. But it belongs to all Thai people. And now it is also owned by people all over the world.
The next step for the province will be coordination with all sectors. Get ready to push for the collection of antiquities found in the city of Si Thep. The references are scattered in various places. Bring it back for collection at Si Thep Historical Park, Si Thep Sub-District, Si Thep District, Phetchabun Province.
The province also has plans and projects to encourage the establishment of a museum in the Si Thep Ancient City Historical Park. Collection and display of valuable antiques from the ancient city of Si Thep. For citizens and tourists to visit and learn (Matichon, Thursday 21 September 2023, page 1)
National Museumwhich exist in World Heritage cities, including Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, isart history museum Collecting antiques caters to a small group of people who are archaeologists, art historians and collectors of antiques.
But it does not satisfy a large group of people in the country, including the public, tourists, teachers, students, etc., who want to know the social and economic-political history of Sri Thep City and how it relates to Thailand and Thailand. Thai people today? How much?
(1.) Antiquities found in Si Thep City. It should stay with Muang Sri Thep But will it be in the National Museum or what? It would take a very long time based on past experience.
Examples of antiquities found in Muang Mahosot, Si Mahosot District, Prachinburi Province (same period as Muang Si Thep The same antiquities have been preserved) can be found by the Ministry of Culture at the National Museum, Prachinburi, about 20 kilometers from the original site .
The villagers of Si Mahosot asked to move to the Si Mahosot area, and at first they promised. But then the Ministry of Culture broke its word and did not allow the move.
(2.) Si Thep City should have a “museum” with international exhibits. (not art history) tells a simple historical story (not difficult and messy archaeology)
Muang Si Thep Museum is to develop a cultural infrastructure that has the power to stimulate creativity in line with the government’s THACCA goal A brief example of the content is given as follows:
Si Thep City is located at the transportation junction of the inner territory between Pa Sak River, Mekong-Chi-Mun River, Chao Phraya River, and Tha Chin-Mae Klong River.
There was a village community that started farming, raising animals, and practicing animism. There is a sacred site in Khao Thamorat (Khao Hin Kaew) about 3,000 years ago.
At the same time, there are at least 2 community networks at the same time:
Lam Takhong Community high plateau area (Next is Muang Sema, Sung Noen District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province)
Lopburi River Basin Community lowland area (Next will be Mueang Lawo, Mueang District, Lopburi Province)
Later, the initial communities were on trade routes across the region. Copper trade was part of “Suvarnabhumi” around 2,000 years ago, or 500 AD.
Copper trade routes from major sources in the Mekong Basin Transport through the Pa Sak Basin to the west. Going through the plains of Don to the Tha Chin-Mae Klong River.
Start Sri Thep’s “Dvaravati”.
Trade expanded more Brahmin-Hinduism and Buddhism from India Spread to the city community of Pa Sak Junction, mixed with animist religions, combining to form animist-Brahmin-Buddhist around 1000 BE.
Organize a multi-ethnic society Then dig a ditch and an embankment with 2 parts.
1.round shape (Inner city) is a holy area. It is customary to bury the head of the clan (chief).
2. Long oval shape (foreign country) is a general area Used to establish houses for the elite.
The Srithep network includes the Lam Takhong community and the Lopburi Basin community. There is also a moat and embankment in two parts.
population Many ethnic groups speak many national languages, including Mon-Khmer, Malay-Cham, Tai-Tai (not Thai), and some from India, China.
Srithep and the Lawo-Sema network It is called from Chinese documents “Tho Lopoti”, next is “Dvaravati” (not in Nakhon Pathom).
statue In Sri Thep there are statues and statues of Buddha. The most important are Lord Narayana, Lord Surya, Lord Krishna (ruler of Dvaravati in the scriptures).
At Lavo an inscription identifies “Vasudeva” as the ancestor of Lord Krishna of Dvaravati.
Beginning of Khmer culture
Khmer speaking people have power in the cities in the Lopburi-Pa Sak river basin. or Mueang Si Thep — Mueang Lawo Being called “Khmer” by others, connected power with the Tonle Sap (lake) province of Cambodia after 1500 AD.
Construction of Phra Prang Muang Si Thep (At the same time as Prasat Phimai, Prasat Phanom Rung, Prasat Mueang Sisaket, Mun River Basin)
Behind Sri Thep
The nature of trade has changed, so there is a new center in Ayothaya. Chao Phraya River Basin
The cities of Si Thep and Sema declined in importance. Until it withered and became deserted around 1700 BE
People moved from the city of Si Thep to a new center in the city of Ayothaya. After that, speaking Thai became Thai Inherited until it became Thai
Stealing a statue
Khao Thamorat Cave, Mueang Si Thep, Phetchabun Province
Around 1960, the head was illegally removed. Cutting the faces of Buddha and Bodhisattvas and then stealing it From a carving in a cave on Khao Thamorat, Si Thep District, Phetchabun Province.
Later, in 1962, the Department of Fine Arts notified the police station in Wichian Buri District, Phetchabun Province.
Khao Thamorat, the sacred mountain of Si Thep city It is about 15 kilometers west of Si Thep city (Khao Thamorat means Khao Hin Kaew, Thamo means stone in Khmer, Rattana means glass in Pali-Sanskrit).
[จากบทความเรื่อง “ความพินาศของภาพจำหลัก ที่ถ้ำเขาถมอรัตน์ ตำบลสระกรวด อำเภอวิเชียรบุรี จังหวัดเพชรบูร” ของ นิคม มูสิกะคามะ พิมพ์ใน นิตยสารศิลปากร ปีที่ 12 เล่ม 3 (กันยายน 2511) หน้า 55-72]Read the relevant columns
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