sign in a cave in Laos

30 November 2023

Atlas of Great Caves & karst of Southeast Asia, 3rd edition

 Atlas of the Great Caves and the karst of Southeast Asia, 

3rd edition

Hot off the press, Dec 2023 

Available for sale from the publisher in Germany. Contact me for details.

See more on BHB website, look under 2023.

13 November 2023

Oldest human fossils found in Vietnam

 The VnExpress on 2 Nov 2023 reported on "Vietnam uncovers oldest human remains". 

Skeletal human remains dating back 10,000 years have been found in a cave, making them the oldest human fossils ever unearthed in Vietnam. The remains were found last March at the Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex in Kim Bang District, in the northern province of Ha Nam.

At the Tam Chuc complex, archaeologists discovered three graves of children and adults, with the people buried in a kneeling position. There were also mollusc shells and teeth bones of small animals, which could have been food sources for ancient people. There were sea molluss shells along with stream snails. At the top of the mountain they found pieces of pottery lying alongside mollusc pieces.

At 10,000 years, these are the oldest human remains to be found in Vietnam. This means they date back to the late Pleistocene to late Holocene age, or 10,000-12,000 years ago.

Excavations at two caves in Kim Bang revealed prehistoric paleontological and material culture remains including animal fossils and reddish-brown rope pottery fragments belonging to the Dong Son culture. Dong Son was a Bronze Age culture in ancient Vietnam centered in the Red River valley of northern Vietnam from 1000 BC until the first century AD.

Photo taken from VnExpress -

9 November 2023

Earthquake affects Phi Hua To cave, Krabi, Thailand

 An earthquake off northern Sumatra on 7 Nov 2023 apparently caused cracks in the rock at Phi Hua To cave, Krabi, Thailand. The cave has been closed indefinitely after there were small rockfalls and cracks appeared.

The cave is in Than Bok Khorani National Park, in Ao Luk district. See Bangkok Post report.

I visited the cave on a canoeing trip in 2002, and wrote two blogs, "Canoeing in Than Bokkhorani Park, Krabi" and "Canoeing around Krabi - Star".

The cave is best known for its petroglyphs and is known as the Big Headed Monster Cave.

7 November 2023

Tham Phu Pha Phet, Satun, Thailand

 In 2011 I wrote a blog about Tham Phu Pha Phet in Satun, Thailand, which I had visited with the Axbridge Caving Group in 2001. 

The area now comes under the Satun UNESCO Global Geopark, designated in 2018.

On 6 November 2023, Nature published a report "Unravelling the hidden diversity of cave mycobiota in Thailand’s Satun Geopark". In 2019 researchers had studied the mycobiota or fungi, in two caves in the Geopark, Le Stegodon and Phu Pha Phet Caves.  

From the article :
"Satun Province in southern Thailand, recognized as the "Land of Palaeozoic fossils," became the country's first UNESCO Global Geopark on April 17, 2018. The Satun UNESCO Global Geopark encompasses four districts in Satun Province, known for diverse karst topography and abundant fossils from the Palaeozoic Era. Phu Pha Phet Cave, or "Diamond Mountain Cave," in Satun Province, Thailand, is the country's largest and the world's fourth-largest cave, with a length of 536.65 m and an area of 0.16 hectares. The cave has over 20 chambers with dazzling stalactites and stalagmites resembling diamond flakes, accessed via a wooden bridge and illuminated by lighting. Tourist visits are allowed with restricted access for conservation and sustainable tourism purposes, resulting in limited visitation and moderate human interference."

I don't know the definition of largest cave in this context. It is obviously not length, could be they are referring to volume. 

These are the surveys from the 2001 ACG visits :