Background

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69 sites were found along the middle Mekong River.

Abundant Signs of Habitation
Before MMAP, there was enough historical and present-day evidence to show that the area around Luang Prabang was rich in the kind of prehistoric remains that, over time, could help put together more pieces of the cultural puzzle in the middle Mekong.

During the pre-World War II colonial era, French scholars wrote about collecting many stone and bronze tools and ceramic artifacts of prehistoric origin along the Mekong River and its tributaries in Luang Prabang province. As some research resumed in those areas in the 1990s, archaeologists and others continued to find similar artifacts.

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Polished adzes for sale in markets.

In 2001, Dr. Joyce White undertook a quick assessment survey with Bounheuang Bouasisngpaseuth, an official at the Lao Department of Museums and Archaeology. They confirmed that Luang Prabang province holds unusual potential for finding in situ prehistoric evidence.

In only a three-day period, Dr. White saw signs of over 10,000 years of human occupation in a very small geographic area, including at least one potential habitation site, hundreds of polished stone adzes, and numerous ceramic and bronze artifacts.