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Mythscape: An Ethnohistorical Archaeology of Space and Narrative in the Northern Thai Cultural Landscapes

Author(s): Piyawit Moonkham

Year: 2017

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A thousand-year old narrative of the Naga in northern Thailand relates how the town known as Yonok came to be destroyed (by an earthquake) after its ruler became unrighteous. Regardless of this divine retribution, the people of the town chose to rebuild. Local chronicles and written documents show that people in the region continue to practice and believe in the narrative today. The Naga is seen as the guardian of the land. It is also seen as the creator and protector of rivers, lands, villages, and towns. In addition, there are more than a hundred archaeological sites spread throughout the Yonok ancient town indicate that people remained and revived settlements after the earthquake. This paper argues that the Naga myth is an agentive source for people to initiate action and performance. The myth is also used as referential knowledge by local people to modify physical landscapes, and guide their decisions over what might be called a mythscape, the ways in which people have learned to understand and interact with the surrounding environment. Mythscape is also a tool by which people act and re-imagine their space as communal monumentality.

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Mythscape: An Ethnohistorical Archaeology of Space and Narrative in the Northern Thai Cultural Landscapes. Piyawit Moonkham. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430308)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17635

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America