Survey of Bagan soil stability ongoing: official

via Myanmar Times, 19 June 2018:

Experts have finished measurements of the subgrade stability of the soil in Nan Taw Yaw in the Bagan ancient cultural zone, said U Saw Htwe Zaw, deputy chair of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, on Monday.

Source: Survey of Bagan soil stability ongoing: official

Why the Sangh Parivar’s Idea of Building a ‘Hindu Dham’ in Cambodia Is Wrong

via The Wire, 16 June 2018:

Project Hindu dham in Cambodia is not just misinformed: it is a regressive step in the history of India-Southeast Asia relations that could start a dangerous chain of religious disharmony and unrest.

The chief rationale for this project appears to be the grand Vaishnava temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Five hundred acres of land has been acquired and 1,008 Shivalingas established to mark the creation of a fifth dham for Hindus. The project is evidently well-funded. Its chief proponents perceive this enterprise as a ‘cultural investment’, an apt way to promote Hinduism beyond India, to revitalise historical links between South and Southeast Asian nations, and to encourage trans-Asian pilgrim networks.

Source: Why the Sangh Parivar’s Idea of Building a ‘Hindu Dham’ in Cambodia Is Wrong

SOAS statue: school denies it was smuggled, but provenance has not yet been established

via The Nation, 16 June 2018: SOAS denies that the donated statue was smuggled but critics point out that the provenance of the statue is lacking, or at least has not yet been established (see other links at the end of this post).

London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has denied claims the prestigious institution possesses a 13th-century sculpture likely smuggled from Thailand

Source: Thai Buddha statue not smuggled: SOAS – The Nation

See also:

[Paper] Complex history of dog (Canis familiaris) origins and translocations in the Pacific revealed by ancient mitogenomes

New paper in Nature about the origins and spread of dogs in Southeast Asia and the Pacific by Kreig et al.

Article

Complex history of dog (Canis familiaris) origins and translocations in the Pacific revealed by ancient mitogenomes

Archaeological evidence suggests that dogs were introduced to the islands of Oceania via Island Southeast Asia around 3,300 years ago, and reached the eastern islands of Polynesia by the fourteenth century AD. This dispersal is intimately tied to human expansion, but the involvement of dogs in Pacific migrations is not well understood. Our analyses of seven new complete ancient mitogenomes and five partial mtDNA sequences from archaeological dog specimens from Mainland and Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific suggests at least three dog dispersal events into the region, in addition to the introduction of dingoes to Australia. We see an early introduction of dogs to Island Southeast Asia, which does not appear to extend into the islands of Oceania. A shared haplogroup identified between Iron Age Taiwanese dogs, terminal-Lapita and post-Lapita dogs suggests that at least one dog lineage was introduced to Near Oceania by or as the result of interactions with Austronesian language speakers associated with the Lapita Cultural Complex. We did not find any evidence that these dogs were successfully transported beyond New Guinea. Finally, we identify a widespread dog clade found across the Pacific, including the islands of Polynesia, which likely suggests a post-Lapita dog introduction from southern Island Southeast Asia.

Source: Nature

MoU promotes cross-border trips between Angkor and Sukhothai

via Bangkok Post, 15 June 2018:

Thailand’s Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cambodia’s Apsara Authority to exchange knowledge and expertise about community-based tourism and World Heritage Site management.

Source: MoU promotes cross-border trips

Apsara eyes legal action over drones at Angkor Wat

via Phnom Penh Post, 14 June 2018: Remember, flying drones over the Angkor Archaeological Park is not allowed. As a drone flyer myself I should point out that a good area of the Angkor park (including Angkor Wat) is near an airfield which means flying there generally a bad idea!

The Apsara Authority wants stricter legal action against those illegally flying drones at the Angkor complex in Siem Reap province.

Source: Apsara eyes legal action over drones at Angkor Wat

London university accused of accepting smuggled sculpture

via The Nation, 14 June 2018: A developing story about the donation of a Lopburi-style sculpture to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, that was accepted without documentation of provenance. The details were first released by Dr Angela Chiu, an independent scholar, on her website.

The Culture and Foreign ministries are following up an accusation made by London University’s prominent School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), that it accepted as a gift a 13th-century sculpture possibly smuggled from Thailand.

Source: London university accused of accepting smuggled sculpture – The Nation

See also:

[Talk] Mystery of the Prehistoric Log Coffin Culture in Highland Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son Province

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk at the Siam Society on Thursday by Prof. Rasmi Shoocongdej.

Mortuary practice is an important indicator of past ideology and its analysis can be developed by classifying burials into specific types, a method which can limit our understanding of mortuary variability, particularly the horizontal and vertical scales of social organization. Research in Highland Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son province, on the Thai-Myanmar border, has revealed the unique features of log coffins placed on posts inside caves atop limestone cliffs. The log coffin culture dates to 2,200-1,000 years ago and bears similarities with the hanging coffins of the extant local inhabitants, the Yue, who are associated with the Tai peoples of Yunnan, South China. This talk will present an overview of Log Coffin culture in Thailand in relation to China and Southeast Asia, through a cross-cultural approach. It will also examine the cemetery organization from the Ban Rai Rockshelter and Long Long Rak Cave sites of Highland Pang Mapha, through a temporal and spatial analysis of the archaeological evidence, to assess the stylistic approach and mortuary practice as units of analysis for the symbolic and cultural landscape, cemetery organization and social memory. The resulting analyses will help our understanding of mortuary and social organization of ancient Highland communities and the complex interactions between South China and Southeast Asia.

Source: Mystery of the Prehistoric Log Coffin Culture in Highland Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son Province. A Talk by Rasmi Shoocongdej

ArchaeoGlobe: Join the first Global Assessment of Archaeological Knowledge on Land Use

The ArchaeoGlobe Project is a “massively collaborative effort” (see Gowers & Nielsen 2009) to assess archaeological knowledge on human land use across the globe over the past 10,000 years.

Join our broad network of archaeologists to share your expert knowledge on past land use across the globe, through a questionnaire on regional land use in 10 distinct timeslices (10,000 bp, 8,000 bp, 6,000 bp, 4,000 bp, 3,000 bp, 2,000 bp, 1,000 bp, 1500 CE, 1750 CE, 1850 CE). With your regional expertise, we can build the first global inventory of archaeological expert knowledge on Earth’s long-term transformation by human use of land.

View the global map of regions and subregions in Google Maps.
ArchaeoGlobe Survey Structure Diagram
Archaeologists completing the questionnaire for at least 4 subregions will be listed as co-authors on the resulting paper (unless they opt out), which we aim to publish in a high profile cross-disciplinary journal (e.g. Nature, Science, PNAS). Filling out the questionnaire for a single subregion takes 7-10 minutes, so we are asking co-authors to devote 1-2 hours of their time. Coauthors are invited to participate further in paper production, as desired.

Survey-based approach, ‘crowdsourcing’ expert knowledge
Co-authorship for substantial knowledge contributions
All results will be fully available in an open-source format
Assess levels of knowledge on four land use categories:
Foraging/hunting/gathering/fishing
Extensive agriculture
Intensive agriculture
Pastoralism

Source: ArchaeoGlobe

Bringing back the forgotten palace

via Bangkok Post, 12 June 2018: Wang Na, or the Front Palace, is more commonly known as the National Museum in Bangkok.

While the Grand Palace is world famous for its palatial architecture, the old Front Palace, or Wang Na, of ancient viceroys is hidden in obscurity although its beauty is second to none. Today it is just known simply as the National Museum Bangkok, rather than a palace with deep historical and artistic significance.

Source: Bringing back the forgotten palace