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Cultural Integration: Asean archaeologists dig for cultural understanding

Young archaeologists from Asean member countries have gathered to broaden the understanding of regional cultural diversity via a workshop being held in Xieng Khuang province from December 7-12.

The “Young Heritage Professionals Study Tour at Plain of Jars Archaeological Sites” workshop is designed to allow archaeologists within the region to exchange information on learning lessons from ancient history and to raise awareness of cultural issues .
In his key note speech, the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Culture of Laos, Thongbay Phothisane, said this was one of the most significant projects under the Sub-Committee thanks to the Vientiane Action Plan of 2004-2010.
The plan’s strategies include fostering Asean awareness and building identity by preservation and promotion of regional cultural heritage through the encouragement of exchanges and meeting of experts as well as the implementation of the Asean Declaration on Cultural Heritage.
The worksop is expected to increase understanding about the diverse cultural heritage among Asean members, particularly in archaeological and historical areas and ultimately help foster better understanding among people in the region.
The meeting is also part of identi f ying historical management problems that Asean members can overcome together, strengthening Asean solidarity towards one community, and promoting an effective regional transition as several countries have similarities in their hi story.
Local authorities welcomed experts in the field to the international regional meeting set in one of the most significant archaeological locati ons of the country.
“The province has many archaeological sites and artefacts which date back many thousands of years and provide important information about our ancestors that still affects current generations,” said Xieng Khuang provincial Deputy Governor Khampian Sinouanthong.
He expressed thanks to all participants for their contribution of constructive ideas about the existing prese rvation of archaeological sites and examples of historic culture in Laos as well as other Asean nations.
Xieng Khuang is a mountainous central northern province of Laos and covers a total area of 15,499 square kilometres. It has a population of over 250,000 people comprising various ethnic groups.
The province is located 400 km north of Vientia ne and shares borders with Vietnam to the east, Borikhamxay, Vientiane, and Xaysomboun provinces to its south, Luang Prabang province to its north-west and Huaphan province to the north. The province has seven districts.
During the meeting, the young Asean archaeologists took the opportunity to visit three Plain of Jars sites including Thong Hai Hin (the Plain of Jars) in Paek district, Thong Hai Hin Nakho and Thong Hai Hin Ban Dongxiengdy.
Xieng Khuang province has set a target of attracting more than 48,000 foreign visitors to the area this year. Last year, the province generated revenue of around US$5 million from the over 43,000 foreign visitors who went there.
The Plain of Jars was built with minimalistic Iron Age aesthetics leading experts to estimate its age to be about 2,500 years, according to the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism’s Department of Heritage.
The Nation

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