Please join us for an evening talk program on Ban Chiang (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Please join us for an evening talk program on Ban Chiang (UNESCO World Heritage Site) by American Archaeologist Dr. Joyce White, Director of Ban Chiang Project – University of Pennsylvania
Hot Pots, Museum Raids, and the Race To Uncover Asia’s Archaeological Past
Thursday, October 6, 2016 – 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
At the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington, D.C.
Fifty years ago, a Harvard undergraduate, Stephen Young, son of the former U.S. ambassador to Thailand, tripped over the roots of a kapok tree, exposing the rim of a beautifully painted pot sticking up out of the ground. Thus began the first chapter of the archaeological saga of Ban Chiang, a village in Thailand.
The chance discovery led to a new understanding of a sophisticated Bronze Age culture previously unknown to archaeologists. As the news spread, however, the worldwide attention garnered by this site’s beautiful pottery and bronze objects also resulted in extensive looting. It wasn’t long before Ban Chiang-type artifacts began appearing at antique shows, in shops, and ultimately even in museum collections.
$30: Smithsonian Member
$45: Non-Smithsonian Member
For more information visit Smithsonianassociates.org
Dr. Joyce White is an American archaeologist , founder and scientific director of the Ban Chiang Project at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. She is an expert witness for the US Department of Justice in an ongoing antiquities trafficking case that in 2014 resulted in the return of many smuggled Ban Chiang items to Thailand.
Dr White will provide an overview of prehistoric Ban Chiang—today a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and its importance to our understanding of ancient Asian culture. She will also bring you behind the scenes of one of the largest antiquities-trafficking cases ever investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. The exciting detective story includes tracing the trail of the looters, gathering evidence of smuggling, serving search warrants at major museums, and finally bringing some of the perpetrators to justice. She will also tell a broader story about the terrible effects of archaeological looting—including destruction of knowledge of the past and harming the economic development of local communities—and how these illegally exported objects made their way from Thailand to public and private collections in the United States.
For more information on Ban Chiang Project visit the Institute of Southeast Asian Archaeology – ISEAA and The Legacy of Ban Chiang.
Access to S. Dillon Ripley Center
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit) map
Enter from a copper domed kiosk on Jefferson Drive between the “Castle” and the Freer Gallery of Art, the S. Dillon Ripley Center houses the Smithsonian Associates, the Discovery Theater, and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service.