Archaeology & Culture

Origins of Angkor

What are the roots of Thailand’s first state society? Join an archaeological dig to learn clues at Non Ban Jaark, this expedition’s mysterious site.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Help these researchers make the connections between Thailand’s prehistoric people and those that founded its first state society.

Join this research expedition as it digs into new territory—the emergence of a state political system in ancient Thailand.

The excavations at Non Ban Jaark are the beginning of a new chapter for this research project, which Earthwatch has supported for nearly two decades. Up until recently teams have worked at Ban Non Wat, a nearby site rich in prehistoric artifacts from early hunter-gatherers and rice farmers. So far, the finds at Non Ban Jaark come from a later period, when an organized state society began to emerge in the region.

Your work will help fill in details about this period in Thai history. Around the world, state societies first began to form in places where large-scale agriculture had already developed. In some parts of the world, this happened over five thousand years ago. But the transition came much later in Non Ban Jaark—closer to two thousand years ago. What accounts for that time difference?

Contribute to one of the longest running archaeological projects in SE Asia

Help with tasks such as excavating archaeological sites and logging artifacts.

Excavations at Non Ban Jaark could help answer that question. Archaeologists think that state societies may have developed later in tropical areas because hunter-gatherers found it easier to survive in such climates, and therefore had less motivation to lay the foundations for an organized state. You’ll help these researchers develop a detailed and accurate picture of what happened here in Thailand.

About the research area

Ban Non Wat, Thailand, Asia

Daily life in the field


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The Scientists


Lecturer, James Cook University

ABOUT Nigel Chang

Earthwatch archaeologist Dr. Nigel Chang of Australia leads the ongoing dig at Ban Non Wat in northern Thailand, exploring the history of an area that once included the seat of the Khmer Empire.


Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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