Tham Lod Rockshelter

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Site type:
Site function:
Habitation site
19.57, 98.27

Tham Lod Rockshelter (Thai: เพิงผาถ้ำลอด), first researched by Rasmi Shoocongdej from Silpakorn University, funded by the Thai Research Fund, was a prehistoric cemetery and a workshop located in Northern Thailand known to have human inhabitants from the late Pleistocene to the late Holocene period Additionally, Tham Lod is near Ban Rai, another rock shelter and is in the vicinity of two well-known caves, Spirit Cave and Tham Lot cave. Recent research and carbon dating suggested that Homo sapiens have occupied the area. These researches provide more detail on the activities by the humans in the area which include burials, living habits, gathering, and tool making, and social interactions.

A study in Northwest Thailand, in particular Tham Lod funded by the Australian National University's Graduate School and Center for Archaeological Research and the Australian Institute for Nuclear Science and Engineering, conducted by Ben Marwick dates human occupation in Tham Lod from 40,000 BP to 10,000 BP. The population was highest during the Holocene period where biomass was greater because of the wet climate. Additionally, migrants from China may have contributed to the population increase.

The Tham Lod rock shelter was discovered to contain multiple bodies that were buried in the past by humans. This discovery was made by research carried out by Rasmi Shoocongdej of the Highland Archaeology Project funded by the US Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation in 2006. There were two of which had significant traces of possible human culture at the time. These bodies were buried in levels above one another (the undetermined skeleton was above the female skeleton). The first skeleton, with an undetermined gender, was found in an extended burial 46 cm (18.1 in) underground and the age was 12,100 +/- 60 years BP. The second skeleton, a female was found in a flexible burial; the approximate height of the skeleton was about 152 cm (59.8 in) and dated to 13,640 +/- 80 years BP. The undetermined skeleton was found to be buried with shellfish and land snails, while the female skeleton had plants, flakes, and a hammerstone.