Mueang U-Taphao, also called Dong Mueang, was located in Ban Dong Mueang of Muang Wan Sub-district in the Nong Saeng District of Saraburi. It was a Dvaravati-era settlement established in an area inland of the former 8,000-7,000 years old shoreline. U-Taphao was a circular moated settlement with a rampart (laterite stones are displayed at the local museum) surrounding the site, dating back to the 6th - 11th centuries.

The original topography has changed dramatically through the centuries. The plain looks relatively flat with some low hilly areas.

The ancient community had two moats, of which the inner moat enclosing the central part can be easily observed. There are still traces of the outer moat, but they are less visible. The inner moat received the water from the outer moat via a canal on its eastern side. The water of the inner moat was drained south into the outer moat in the southwest. The central part had a large square pond, about 75 m x 75 m. Based on the archaeological excavation, the community used monoculture.

Mueang U-Taphao formed a group in the upper part of the Chao Phraya River basin with Khu Mueang (Sing Buri), Chansen (Nakhon Sawan) and Dong Khon (Chai Nat). The settlement was likely connected to the Dvaravati Sea shore via a waterway, in the same way as Khu Bua (Ratchaburi), U-Thong (Suphanburi) and Nakhon Pathom.

A part of the moat in the south is a waterway, and today called Khlong Ban Khok Klang. The latter must have been a distributary from the young Pa Sak River earlier. During the first Millennium, this canal likely led to the Paleao-shore line at a time when the area of Ayutthaya was still a swamp influenced mainly by the tide of the gulf. The waterways functioned for communication and transportation.

The importance of the ancient Dong Muang community declined during the Lopburi period as the sea level dropped and the river became too shallow for its role as a coastal port city. People moved away, and the town ended up becoming a small community.

Excavations in situ revealed boundary stones, coins, glass beads, pottery, bronze ornaments and other artefacts.

Within the settlement is a monastery called Wat U-Taphao, with a small ordination hall in the early Ayutthaya style and a chedi in front of its entry (east). Seventy-five per cent of the moated area is a field. Some houses are situated north of the temple.

On the premises of Wat U-Taphao is a small museum with several objects excavated in the area, found under a 1-metres thick ground layer.

Mueang U-Taphao is in geographical coordinates: 14° 26' 24.13" N, 100° 50' 6.33" E.


[1] Brown, Robert L. (1996) - The Dvaravati Wheels of the Law and the Indianization of South East Asia - Leiden, The Netherlands.