Man Bac, Vietnam

Damien Huffer

Damien Huffer
Smithsonian Institution, Museum Conservation Institute and Dept. of Physical Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History
Man Bac excavation in the landscape, 2007 season, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam

The “Splatt” Theory

Ardeth Anderson

Ardeth Anderson
Institute for Southeast Asian Archaeology
The “Splatt” Theory: an artist’s conception of how the archaeological site of Ban Chiang, Thailand, was formed. Gouache painting by Ardeth Anderson, 1995

The SEAArch Photo Festival begins today!

Thanks everybody for your photo submissions, I am pleased to kick off the first Southeast Asian Archaeology Photo Festival today! The festival will run for two weeks, and a new photo will be up twice a day (in the morning and the afternoon in Singapore time), Monday to Friday. I received 22 submissions, and the variety is just wonderful.

The photos are grouped into four themes: Site photos and People (this week), and next week the photos of artefacts and fieldwork go up. Each photo comes with a name and a caption, and I especially encourage you leaving a comment for photos you particularly enjoy, and also that you reach out to the photographers if you have questions about the sites and research portrayed in them.

Coming up, the site photos!

Time for a holiday!

Taking a short break from posting and I hope to resume near the end of September. Last week I submitted my thesis for examination and it is now the end of my Australian stint! It has been a good three and a half years. 

This weekend I leave Canberra for good – it’ll be time for short holiday but also a big move! If all goes to plan, I will be broadcasting next from Bangkok, where I will be based for the foreseeable future. If there are any readers based in Bangkok who would like to meet up (or even better, help me settle in!), send me a message!

In the meantime, while I won’t be posting new stories for a while, the Southeast Asian Archaeology Photo Festival will begin next week! I received over 20 submissions, and as expected, they are all very diverse! Stay tuned for a couple of new photos every day.

Call for Expressions of Interest for running the next IPPA Congress

From the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Secretary-General, Ian Liley:

Dear IPPA community

It is time to start planning the next IPPA conference. It is scheduled for 2018, as per the four-year cycle described in the IPPA Constitution. 2018 may seem like a long time in the future, but to have a successful meeting we need all the time we can get for planning and preparation.
If you are interested, please discuss the idea with your local colleagues before responding to me. The congress in Cambodia earlier this year attracted almost 1000 people in total and was a major logistical exercise with several very serious issues to deal with. In this context, one of the most important factors, other than a suitable venue with a range of accommodation options, is substantial financial support. To keep IPPA affordable for regional colleagues, we rely very heavily on government assistance. This support comes not only through allowing local colleagues to work on IPPA matters before, during and, for some, after the Congress, but also in providing a substantial amount of money as well as various sorts of ‘in-kind’ material support to help cover costs. In Cambodia, the National Government and various authorities were very generous in both ways, which is one reason the meeting was such a success. The same goes for previous congresses. Very few external agencies can provide help on the scale required. Wenner Gren is always supportive, but can grant us a maximum of USD20,000, which does not go far. Intensive efforts to find other external sources of money for the Cambodian meeting were not successful, but should always be considered as well.
The IPPA Executive is not seeking detailed bids at this stage, only expressions of interest. Please think carefully about the foregoing matters before responding. If you wish to nominate, please submit your expression of interest by FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER 2014.

Central Borneo sites mapped and investigated

Dr Lindsay Lloyd-Smith recently gave a talk at the Sarawak Museum on the ongoing work of the Central Borneo Project, focused on the Kelabit Highlands. Nick Gani, who gave me the heads up to this article, is also involved in the project and instrumental in coordinating archaeology education for undergraduate students at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. Both Lindsay and Nick are personal friends of mine.

Dr Lindsay Lloyd-Smith speaking at the Sarawak Museum. Source: Borneo Post 20140825

Dr Lindsay Lloyd-Smith speaking at the Sarawak Museum. Source: Borneo Post 20140825

‘Need to locate undiscovered sites in Kelabit Highlands’
Borneo Post, 28 August 2014
Continue reading Central Borneo sites mapped and investigated

Lost bell of Shwedagon Pagoda reportedly found

A bell that was looted from the Shwedagon Pagoda 400 years ago is said to be found in the Yangon river, according to a group of local divers.

Dredging for King Dhammazedi's bell. Bangkok Post 20140827

Dredging for King Dhammazedi’s bell. Bangkok Post 20140827

Myanmar divers say famed bell found
Bangkok Post, via AFP, 27 August 2014
Continue reading Lost bell of Shwedagon Pagoda reportedly found

Cambodian-Laos programme in humanities research

Project Manusastra capacity building aim to develop local humanities research sounds like an excellent initiative, but it makes me wonder if training programmes like these teach Southeast Asians to think like westerners rather than to develop a local theory of our own. Does anybody have any experiences in the differences between ‘western’ archaeological theory and how different Southeast Asian groups think about archaeology?

Source: The Cambodia Daily 20140825

Source: The Cambodia Daily 20140825

University Program Cultivates Local Researchers
The Cambodian Daily, 25 August 2014
Continue reading Cambodian-Laos programme in humanities research

Documents in Babayin script declared Philippine heritage

Two documents written in Babayin script have been declared cultural treasures in the Philippines.

1635 Deed of Sale, written in Babayin script. Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer 20140825

1635 Deed of Sale, written in Babayin script. Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer 20140825

UST documents in ancient ‘baybayin’ script declared a National Cultural Treasure
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 August 2014
Continue reading Documents in Babayin script declared Philippine heritage

Not much time left to send in your archaeology photos!

If you’re still keen to share your archaeology photos, I’m equally keen to post them up! The deadline for photo submissions in August 28. Send me a photo related to Southeast Asian Archaeology with a caption and your name (and affiliation, optional). The virtual exhibition will begin next week!

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