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The Princess Reading the Remains

When anthropologist Charles Higham and colleague Rachanie Thosarat uncovered this prehistoric grave at Khok Phanom Di in central Thailand, they knew little about its occupant. But "the Princess" and others in nearby graves had much to reveal about themselves and their society. Click on each question to find out.

What sex was this person?
What was her diet?
What was her rank in society?
What did she do to gain such prestige?
Where did her exotic shell jewelry come from?
How old was she when she died?
What did most people die of?
What happened at the Princess's funeral?

Charles F.W. Higham is professor of anthropology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Rachanie Thosarat is a research archaeologist with the Fine Arts Department, Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Hingham currently runs an archaeological project in northeast Thailand under the auspices of the Earthwatch Institute. Based in Watertown, Massachusetts, this volunteer-based field research organization kindly gave NOVA permission to use this article.

Photo: Charles Higham.

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