Old-new history of ancient Kedah

via New Straits Times, 11 November 2017: Archaeoturism at the Sungei Batu site.

If you’re now thinking that this is a recently discovered lost civilisation in the dense tropical jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula or South America, built by either the fearsome Mayans or Aztecs, well think again. This latest ground-breaking discovery predating many well-known ancient civilisations is found right here in our very own backyard. To be exact, it’s located in Malaysia’s northern state of Kedah.

Armed with these tantalising facts related to me recently by a friend, I make my way to the main entrance of the Sungai Batu archaeological site. I’m excited and ready to see for myself the many amazing discoveries that are set to rewrite history textbooks in the near future.

Acting on my friend’s advice, I quickly sign up for a guided tour that costs only RM10 for locals. The tour, conducted by graduate students of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), allows visitors access into many key areas within the excavation complex which currently houses nearly 100 excavated sites. Be forewarned that most of these important sites are off-limits to those who opt for free access to the area.

Source: Old-new history of ancient Kedah | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News

Burma pledges to relocate hotels from Bagan archaeological site

via DVB, 11 November 2017:

At the forefront of Burma’s proposal to UNESCO will be a pledge to relocate hotels and buildings that interfere with the ancient ruins.

Source: Burma pledges to relocate hotels from Bagan archaeological site- DVB Multimedia Group

Mrauk-U eyes listing as UNESCO World Heritage site

via Myanmar Times, 10 November 2017:

Myanmar is considering several ancient cultural sites, including Mrauk-U, for listing as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site.

An application for Mrauk-U in Rakhine State will be submitted to UNESCO, said Thura U Aung Ko, Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture, on November 8.

The initiative was authorised by the President’s office and relevant committees and several sub-committees have been established for the task.

Source: Mrauk-U eyes listing as UNESCO World Heritage site | The Myanmar Times

Excavation digs up artifacts in ancient temple

via Viet Nam News, 08 November 2017:

An excavation team from the Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology and Bac Giang Province Museum discovered valuable artifacts after a month-long excavation in the remnants of Ma Yen Pagoda.

Source: Excavation digs up artifacts in ancient temple – News VietNamNet

Who stole Burma’s royal ruby?

via BBC, 02 November 2017: A delightful story from the BBC following U Soe Win, a descendant of Burma’s last king, Thibaw, and his search for a ruby that was stolen from his great-grandfather during the last days of the kingdom.

When Britain conquered Burma, the last king’s most treasured possession, an enormous, priceless ruby, disappeared. Who took it, where did it go, and where is it now?

Source: Who stole Burma’s royal ruby? – BBC News

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Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth

via NHK World, 07 November 2017: An interesting video story from NHK World about the underwater salvagers who operate in the Chao Phraya River that cuts through Bangkok.

Running through central Bangkok is the Chao Phraya River. On it is the city’s largest floating village, Mittakham. About 300 people live there. The community is estimated to be about 100 years old.

A development project means the community is scheduled to be torn down. Its residents are being forced to move from the river that’s given them their livelihoods for generations.

One of them is 53-year-old Jamroen Bua-Sri. Every day, he puts on a steel helmet and goes into the river to hunt for antiques and other treasures. He’s one of about 40 such divers. The river was a crucial trade route linking the ancient capital of Ayutthaya to China and other Asian countries, so it’s surprising what can turn up.

“My grandfather was a fisherman. One day, he found something in the river, and there were people who paid for it. So he began to search for lost treasures in the river,” says Jamroen. He has salvaged more than 10,000 items. He says this is an amulet from the early Ayutthaya Kingdom period that ended in the mid-1700s. Some artifacts retrieved by the divers have even gone into national museum collections.

Source: Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth – Editor’s Picks – News – NHK WORLD – English

Thai culture goes digital

via Bangkok Post, 08 Nov 2017: Check out the Thai cultural heritage online at digitalcenter.finearts.go.th

To ensure better access and understanding of national cultural heritage, the Fine Arts Department has applied and developed information technology systems in six aspects.

The Silpakorn Online System is an app for the department’s official website. It gathers information on Thai historic sites, national museums, learning sources, national libraries, national archives, procurement and new books of the department.

The Smart Museum System is an app for the National Museum Bangkok and is iOS and Android compatible. The system reads QR codes and Augmented Reality Code (AR code) for photographs and videos of the museum, its exhibitions and displayed objects. The AR code uses 3D technology to present 3D models of Phutthai Sawan, Sivamokphiman and Issaretratchanusorn halls, royal mansions and all ancient artefacts at 360 degrees. The Phra Nakhon Khiri National Museum in Phetchaburi province is the first national museum in Thailand to fully apply a guide application and an AR code guidance system under the 2.4 million baht pilot project.

The Virtual Museum System gathers and presents information on all national museums, their displayed ancient artefacts and art objects via a website. It offers virtual tours of all museums and 3D images of major artefacts at 360 degrees and enables viewer interaction.

The Fine Arts Department’s digital archive includes more than 2,400 e-books and 500 videos from the department’s original versions, as well as old photos of major incidents, such as the 25th anniversary of King Rama V’s coronation and the royal visits and work of King Rama VII from 1927 to 1930.

Source: Thai culture goes digital | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

US tourist, 20, falls to death from Myanmar temple

via AFP, Yahoo News 08 November 2017: Death is always tragic, but it should be pointed out that on top of the fact that climbing temples is frowned on in Bagan, the tourist was also on a non-designated temple that wasn’t designated for climbing.

Myanmar has tried in vain to keep tourists from scaling Bagan’s temples to watch sunsets fall over its vast plain of more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments.

In 2016 authorities tried to restrict the daily ritual to five main temples, citing the need to preserve the temples and protect tourists’ safety.

But travellers continue to scamper up many of Bagan’s smaller structures, including the 20-foot Wuttanathaw pagoda from which Braun fell.

Source: US tourist, 20, falls to death from Myanmar temple