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In comparison with the very small samples of approximately contemporary skeletal remains from the wider region around the middle Mekong, it is clear that the burial position and dental health were not unusual, but that he was very tall for that period of prehistory.An adult skeleton was found in 2004 in a rock-shelter in the Pha Phen karst, Khamkeut District, Bolikhamsay Province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Figure 1 Southeast Asia showing the location of Pha Phen and comparative skeletal samples.Both elbows are flexed at right angles with the forearms across the body.
Reinforcing rods were inserted under the pedestalled block, with further boxing built and concrete poured to form a solid support. The first stage was to expose the skeleton again, which was achieved by removing the plaster at the margins of the block using hammer and chisel.His teeth were heavily worn and one was infected but otherwise there is no evidence of poor health.We were not able to make an assessment of biological affiliation.The skeleton was covered in a layer of plastic and several layers of plaster poured over the plastic. Once this was removed, it was possible to lift of the remainder of the plaster; although the layer of protective plastic had deteriorated since the excavation, it nevertheless protected the bones sufficiently for the plaster to be lifted from areas of the skeleton, leaving the bones exposed.The block (Figure 3 The block containing the plastered skeleton ready for removal from the site. We carried out further minor excavation to expose the skeleton fully and recorded the bones present, their condition, and the position of the skeleton.