In 2007, I paid a visit to the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, where I was living at the time. One of the exhibitions fascinated me. It was dedicated to the hill tribes of South-east Asia, whose cultures span Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. One of the display boards gave an overview of the belief systems of the the tribes, and I was struck by the fact that some of the tribes’ origin myths indicate that they once lived in Siberia.
It’s hard to decide which is more astonishing – the slow migration over millennia from the frigid wastes of Siberia, through China, to their eventual home in the forested hills of Thailand, or the fact that despite the long ages of movement, and the huge variation in the environments where the tribes had lived, their myths remained unchanged, preserving the folk memory of their first home.
It’s with the same sense of awe that I read reports in the media of a new archaeological discovery earlier this year (2019).