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The eastern parts of the Chao Phraya valley were subjected to a more Khmer and Hindu influence as the inscriptions are found in Khmer and Sanskrit.
Dvaravati was not a kingdom but a network of city-states paying tribute to more powerful ones according to the mandala political model.
Dvaravati culture expanded into Isan as well as south as far as the Kra Isthmus.
Dvaravati was a part of the ancient international trade as Roman artefacts were also found and Dvaravati tributes to the Tang Chinese court are recorded.
Stone artefacts dating to 40,000 years ago have been recovered from, e.g., Tham Lod rockshelter in Mae Hong Son and Lang Rongrien Rockshelter in Krabi, peninsular Thailand.
There are many sites in Thailand dating to the Bronze (1500–500 BCE) and Iron Ages (500 BCE-500 CE).
Some trading settlements show evidence of trade with the Roman Empire: a Roman gold coin showing Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (161 CE) has been found in southern Thailand.
The finds have been dated from roughly 1,000,000–500,000 years ago in the Pleistocene.
Indian influence on Siamese culture was partly the result of direct contact with Indian settlers, but mainly it was brought about indirectly via the Indianised kingdoms of Dvaravati, Srivijaya and the Khmer Empire.
The existence of the civilisations had long been forgotten by the Thai when Samuel Beal discovered the polity among the Chinese writings on Southeast Asia as "Duoluobodi".
During the early 20th century archaeologists led by George Coedès made excavations in what is now Nakhon Pathom Province and found it to be a centre of Dvaravati culture.
The constructed name Dvaravati was confirmed by a Sanskrit plate inscription containing the name "Dvaravati".