PHANOM WAN: ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY AND RESTORATION PROJECT.
Pongdhan Bandhom, Fine Arts Department Branch 6, Nakorn ratchasima, Thailand.
The Khmer civilization developed as a state-level society over many centuries and its empire extended far beyond the present borders of Cambodia. Many Khmer monuments are located in the northeastern part of Thailand, such as Prasat Phum Pone, Prasat Phimai, irrigation system, roads, stone, quarries, kilns, and even hospital.
The location of this monument, from the first period about 5-6 centuries A.D. Expansion of these monuments varied and was largely the result of the intensification of Khmer political power. In the reign of Jaiyavaraman VII, [1181-1220] the hospitals and Dhamasala were located along the road from Angkor to Phimai, a distance of 225 kilometers.
Prasat Phanom Wan was a Khmer hindu temple. It is located on the low terrace about 15 kilometres from main city of Nakorn Ratchasima in northeast Thailand. In the southern part of Phanom Wan is a stream. Surrounding the temple are fields, owned by local villagers who live about 1 kilometre away. The infrastructure of the area including roads, electricity, irrigation canal and telephones and expansion of industrial factories has occurred in last five years.
Generally, the architecture of Phanom Wan is compareble to Phimai and Phanom Rung,[ca.10-12th centuries A.D.]. During the excavations in front of the temple a laterites and brick floor in the form of the trace way was found. And far from here, is the rectangular laterite base. However, its function is unknow. [Chanthed 1993]
Phanom Wan may have been enclosed by a moat. Moated sites are well-known in this region of Thailand. Arial photographs denote a former large sized reservoir, 1800 by 560 metres, at the northern part of Phanom wan.
Archaeological procedures since 1990 until last month found evidence of late prehistoric occupation beneath the surface and the temple's foundation layer. Artefacts such as vessels with everted rims and red slipped pottery, seashells and marble bangles were recovered during excavations. [Bandhom 1997]
The excavation at courtyard found a human skeleton associated with iron tools and Phimai black pottery. Similar artefacts have been dated 200 BC.-A.D.300.
Habitation evidence during the first period at Phanom Wan is comparable with other sites in upper Mun valley. Such evidence suggests intra-exchange networks may have existed. Occupation occurred in more than one period at the site. From the excavation data we have determined that Phanom Wan functioned as both a burial and religious site.[Bandhom 1997:106]
Later, 10th century A.D., Khmer culture was more influencial in this region. At Phanom Wan at least 2 periods of monuments were found in the same area. The first period is represented by just 9 brick bases located around the courtyard, some of them still have the doorframe and sculpture's pedestal. We belive that during the 10th century A.D. Phanom Wan shows much significance in condition of the architectural complexity.
We do not clearly understand changes which occurred from the first to the second period. However in the 11th century A.D., the temple was constructed over the brick monuments. Although bricks were used in large amounts, the principle raw materials used in building the temple were sandstone.
Many inscriptions inside the principle sanctuary which mention either to the kings or the mission of their officials that eventually this building was not finished and was deserted.
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