Skip to main content
Ref ID: 36272
Ref Type: Thesis-MA
Authors: Moonkham, Piyawit
Title: Mythscape: an ethnohistorical archaeology of space and narrative of the naga in northern Thailand
Date: 2017
Place of Publication: Pullman, WA
Publisher: Department of Anthropology, Washington State University
Abstract: A powerful myth in Chiang Saen basin, states that the naga came and destroyed the town known as yonok after its ruler became immoral and offended this mythical creature. Despite this divine retribution, the people of the town chose to rebuild it. Many archeological sites found within the region confirm and indicate people’s resettlement. While many scholars understand that this region has always been devoted to Theravada Buddhism, and although many temple sites were constructed in the Buddhist concept, the building patterns seem to vary from location to location and illustrate what this thesis calls an unconventional pattern separate from Buddhist cosmology. In addition to the building pattern, many local written documents and practices today also appear to reflect influences of the naga myth on building construction. From both ethnographic data and archaeological evidence, this thesis argues that people not only believe in the myth, but have also applied the myth as a tool to interact with the surrounding landscapes and environment. Most significantly, the naga myth is also seen by the people as a part of the larger cosmological concept, and the ways in which they understand the changing landscapes. This process I call mythscape: the process that the naga myth is used as a communicated element by the local people to modify, construct, and create the space and their cultural landscape, i.e. settlement patterns. It is the process by which the naga myth becomes a part of their communal space and landscape.
Date Created: 9/27/2017