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Spirit Cave (Thailand)


Definition: The Spirit Cave is a group of inter-connecting caverns in a karst topography region of northern Thailand, and overlooking the Khong Stream. Within a one meter thick deposit iss evidence four stratified occupations, radiocarbon dated between 11,000 and 5500 BC, all of which are Hoabinhian period hunter-gatherer sites.

Archaeological evidence at the site includes flaked stone tools, including unifacial discoids (typical of Hoabinhian), animal bone (bovid and deer), fish, and possibly some wild beans.

Discovered by American archaeologist Chester Gorman in 1965. A resin covered pottery sherd was discovered at Spirit Cave and dated to about 7500 BP; debates on this sherd have continued.


Higham, Charles. 1996. Spirit Cave. in Brian Fagan (ed). 1996. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Lampert, C.D. et al. 2003. Dating resin coating on pottery: the Spirit Cave early ceramic dates revised. Antiquity 77(295):126-133.

White, Joyce C. 2004. Comment on dates from a resin-coated sherd from Spirit Cave, Thailand. Antiquity 78(299):184-187.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

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