SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

Udomluck Hoontrakul

BA (Silpakorn University, Thailand) MA (Chiang Mai University, Thailand) MA (SOAS)
  • Research


Udomluck Hoontrakul
Udomluck Hoontrakul
Email address:
Thesis title:
The Development of Political Economy and Social Formation of the Marginal Polities on the Salween River Basin, Northwestern Thailand During the first millennium CE to the mid-second millennium CE
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Udomluck Hoontrakul is a PhD candidate in History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS University of London under the supervision of Professor Ashley Thompson. Her PhD research focuses on the highland region between the Salween and Ping river basins and aims to understand political dynamics, social and cultural interaction between highlands and lowlands, the development of highland socio-political structure, and political entities between the first millennium CE and fifteenth centuries CE. She obtained a BA in Archaeology from Silpakorn University (Thailand), MA in Social Development from Chiang Mai University (Thailand), and MA in History of Art and Archaeology from SOAS University. Prior to PhD program, she taught archaeology, museum, and heritage at the Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, Thammasat University, Thailand.

PhD Research

My research aims to study the social and political development in Highland area in the Salween river basin or modern-day Thai-Burma border during the first millennium CE to the mid-second millennium CE. Main research questions are 1) to investigate the social and political development of the highland communities and 2) to define highland polity which distinct from lowland polity and to study the political dynamics, socio-political structure, social and cultural interaction between the highland and lowland people. Previous historical and archaeological researches mostly tend to focus on the valley or the lowland-centric model in which lowland states are explained to be a centre and rule over both lowland and highland settlement in this region. Rather than simply see the highland settlements to be a lowland state’s vassal, this research attempts to understand the highland political system and the interaction between highland and lowland political system. Research material is a burial site called Ring Ditch (a circular earthwork), scattered throughout mountainous regions of Salween and Ping river basin. This site will be examined from archaeological and ethnographical perspective in order to investigate the trade networks, social and cultural interactions, belief systems of ancient highland cultures. In this research, archaeological survey and excavation are major approach. The main research area which intensive survey and site excavation were conducted is Pang Mapha district, Mae Hong Son province, in northern Thailand; while extensive survey was conducted in northern and western Thailand, i.e. Tak, and Chiang Mai province.


  • The 21st Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA) Congress, Hue, Vietnam, 23-28 September 2018
  • The LATU International Conference, Thammasat University, Thailand, 13-14 September 2018


  • Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, Thammasat University (Thailand)


  • Southeast Asian Archaeology
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Museum