Antique coins found in Hue rivers

A report on the trade in antique coins found in the Hue river in Vietnam.

17 January 2007 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – A report on the trade in antique coins found in the Hue river in Vietnam.

Antique coins found in Hue rivers

For the past several years, beside ceramic works, fishermen have found a large number of antique coins in rivers in Hue and sold them to antique money collectors.

Most of the coins are made of copper and zinc. There are sometimes gold and silver coins that were minted for award purposes rather than to be used on the market.

The coins show that people in Hue in particular and in the central region in general used many kinds of coins minted at different historical periods including “Gia Long Currency,” “Minh Mang Currency” and even the very rare “Ham Nghi” coins made during the Nguyen dynasty, and “Quang Trung Currency” and “Canh Thinh Currency” of Emperor Quang Trung’s period.

According to an expert on Hue’s history, Mr. Ho Tan Phan, the discovery of such a rich source of old coins reaffirms the conclusion of many research works that today’s Thua Thien – Hue used to be a big regional trading and foreign exchange centre.

Ancient elephant skeleton discovered in Nghe An

A farmer in Nghe An province unearthed the bones of a massive elephant – a megafaunal specimen that could possibly be a mammoth. Yes, I know.

11 Jan 2007 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – A farmer in Nghe An province unearthed the bones of a massive elephant – a megafaunal specimen that could possibly be a mammoth. Yes, I know. Strictly speaking, this might not be considered under archaeology because archaeology is the study of material culture (and not just digging up stuff and cataloguing what you find). But I thought to include it anyway to err on the side of caution.

Vietnam Net Bridge, 11 Jan 2007

Ancient elephant skeleton discovered in Nghe An

VietNamNet Bridge – A huge elephant skeleton estimated to date back thousands of years has just been discovered in Khe Dinh River by a local farmer, Pham Van Dong, in Hamlet 4, Hong Son village, Do Luong district, Nghe An Province.

Dong said that on December 14, 2006 while going to his rice paddy at around 1 o’clock, he saw what he thought was an upright iron wood log sticking out of the river. Finding it unusual, he dug around the place, and to his amazement, amongst layers of mud were more huge animal bones.

Immediately, he called his friends and relatives to come and help him with the digging. After nearly 3 days they had dug up a nearly complete skeleton of 500 kg which is in the process of fossilisation.

The skeleton has been identified as belonging to a species of enormous elephant and is estimated to date back thousands of years ago, as there is evidence of fossilisation in some of the bones like vertebra and shoulder bones.

Symposium on Chinese Export Trade Ceramics in Southeast Asia

What an exciting possibility! Maritime archaeology in Southeast Asia is one of the most exciting parts of Southeast Archaeology today, and the ceramic finds in each maritime site really provides hoards of data in understanding SEA’s past. It would be great to go for this conference and produce a podcast on this, but am unable to afford the $200 conference fee. Would anyone like to sponsor (in part or full) me? Email me at seaarch@gmail.com

Symposium on Chinese Export Trade Ceramics in Southeast Asia

Date: 12 – 14 March 2007
Time: 0900 – 1800
Location: National Library Board, Imagination & Possibilities Room (Level 5), 100 Victoria Street, Singapore

Description:
The Symposium will bring together archaeologists and ceramic scholars from China, Southeast Asia, and the western hemisphere, highlighting recent advances in archaeological, maritime, and ceramic research on the ceramic export trade. The three main themes for the symposium are:

1) Maritime Archaeology

Shipwrecks and port sites are important sources of information regarding the transport and exchange of ceramics. Important new discoveries in this field are revolutionizing our knowledge of early Southeast Asian commerce, both within the region and with China.

2) Production Centers of Ceramics

In the past few years, Chinese archaeologists have conducted work at kiln complexes in southern and eastern China which produced many of the wares which are found in Southeast Asian archaeological sites. This burst of activity is rectifying a long period of relative neglect of this subject. Though much remains to be accomplished, preliminary results have already begun to create a much clearer picture of the ebb and flow of production in different parts of China.

3) Consumers of Trade Ceramics

This subject has received the most attention in the past. Much of our early knowledge of Chinese ceramic trade with Southeast Asia was derived from burial sites, often looted, where intact items were found. The archaeology of settlements began later, but has also yielded significant insight into the role of imported ceramics in the economy and belief systems of Southeast Asia. The importance of the export ceramic industry for China’s economy in the period from the 9th to the 15th centuries is another subject which new research is beginning to clarify.

PRESENTERS

Prof. Chen Kuo-Tung (Institute of History and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taiwan)
Dr. Edmund E. McKinnon (United Nations Development Programme Banda Aceh)
Mr. John Guy (Victoria & Albert Museum)
Dr. Marie France Dupoizat (France)
Ms. Ke Fengmei (Centre for the Management and Preservation of Artefacts, Putian)
Prof. Li Jian An (Archaeological Institute, Fujian Museum)
Mr. Lou Jianlong (Archaeological Institute, Fujian Museum)
Dr. Michael Flecker (Maritime Explorations, Singapore)
Prof. Morimoto Asako (Japan)
Prof. Qin Dashu (Peiking University)
Prof. John N. Miksic (National University of Singapore)
Prof. Qi Dongfang (Peking University)
Prof. Robert E. Murowchick (Boston University, USA)
Ms. Rita Tan (KAISA Heritage Centre, Manila)
Dr. Roxanna M.Brown (Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Bangkok University)
Mr. Shen Yuemin (Archaeological Institute, Zhejiang Museum)
Prof. Wang Xiaoyun (The Academy of Science of Chinese Literature)
Prof. Yang Zhishui (The Academy of Science of Chinese Literature)
Dr. Zhao Bing (College de France)

The symposium will be conducted in English and Chinese.

For full details, visit the National University of Singapore: Asia Research Institute website here.

Related Books:
Lost at Sea: The Strange Route of the Lena Shoal Junk
The Ceramics of Southeast Asia : Their Dating and Identification by R. M. Brown

Artefacts from Ca Mau go on the block

Sothebys Amsterdam is holding an auction of ceramic shipwreck finds found off the coast of Ca Mau province. The auction is held from 30 – 31 January. Proceeds from the sale go to fund future maritime archaeological expeditions in Vietnam.

10 January 2007 (Viet Nam News) – Sothebys Amsterdam is holding an auction of ceramic shipwreck finds found off the coast of Ca Mau province. The auction is held from 30 – 31 January. Proceeds from the sale go to fund future maritime archaeological expeditions in Vietnam.

Viet Nam News, 10 Jan 2006

Artefacts from Ca Mau go on the block

Porcelain dating back to 18th century which was salvaged off the coast of Ca Mau Province will be hoisted onto the auction block at Sotheby’s Amsterdam salesrooms by the end of this month.

Among 76,000 fine Chinese porcelain pieces to be offered are diverse, rare pieces ranging from fine blue and white tea sets to porcelain boxes and mugs to polychrome figures.

The hoard will be offered in 1,500 lots, with an estimated value of over US$2.5 million, according to Sotheby’s Amsterdam.

Ancient tomb unearthed in Vinh Phuc

6 January 2007 (Nhan Dan)

Ancient tomb unearthed in Vinh Phuc

Vietnamese and Chinese archaeologists have recently unearthed an ancient tomb at an archaeological site in Vinh Tuong district, northern Vinh Phuc province.

The 1.7 metre-sepulchre was said to belong to the Phung Nguyen culture dating back to 3,500-4000 years ago.

During the second excavation at the 200-square-metre Nghia Lap archaeological site, hundreds of stone tools and thousands of ceramic objects belonging to the Phung Nguyen culture were also found, including axes, graters and jewelry like necklaces and earrings.

The remains and objects unearthed are currently preserved at a local museum for further research, said experts. (VNA)

Selections, January 2007

A selection of archaeology-related books, new to the catalogue of Select Books, a specialised publisher and retailer of books pertaining to Southeast Asia. For ordering info, please visit the Select Books website.

040227
Cartography Of The East Indian Islands, The (Insulae Indiae Orientalis). Parry, David E.. Gb. 2005. 241pp. hc $199.50 (This magnificent volume is a rich treasure-house for anyone interested in maps of Southeast Asia! Some 500 maps are illustrated in colour. The scholarly text discusses the background, equipment and work of cartographers at various periods since Classical times. Although inter-Asian trade with the “Spice Islands” took place much earlier, cartography seems to have developed only after the involvement of Europe-based trading and travel. Maps were of urgent importance to empire-builders, traders, investors, and mariners seeking the incredibly lucrative cloves and nutmegs to be found in the Molucca Islands. The history of East Indies maps and mapmakers is traced up to the full establishment of scientific cartography in the early 19th century. With references and index.)

039827
Emergence Of Buddhism, The. Kinnard, Jacob N. Us. 2006. 165pp. hc $80.35 (This book for college students presents the history of one of the world’s most ancient religions. Topical essays explore the origins of Buddhism, the social and philosophical context in which it was born, Buddha himself, his followers, the main Buddhist precepts, and the spread of the religion. With chronology, biographical sketches of key personalities, glossary, bibliography, index and notes on primary documents.)

039622 Eternal Army, The: The Terracotta Soldiers Of The First Chinese Emperor. Ciarla, Roberto. It. 2005. 287pp. hc $97.90 (This is indeed a remarkable volume on a remarkable subject. Internationally recognised scholars and photographers come together in presenting the context, nature and purpose of the vast array of terracotta figures and objects found in 1974 in the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi (259-206 BCE), located in Lintong, Shaanxi Province. The first Emperor’s career is set into context by articles on: The archaeology, early history, prehistory, legends and rituals of China; the reform and political events which led up to his imposition of Codes of Law; and the schools of philosophy which had developed in the earlier Warring States period. The second part explores the vast tomb itself. Its features, construction, the techniques involved in the creation of individually different figures and in their present-day care are all discussed, calling on expertise from many disciplines. Hundreds of outstanding photographs convey the impact and nature of the incredible creation we call The Terracotta Army. With glossary, bibliography and index.)

038200
My So’n Relics. Ngo Van Doanh. Vt. 2005. 267pp. pb $31.50 (The My So’n temple complex in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam was for a thousand years central in national and Buddhist development. Past and recent wars and natural forces have reduced the temples and towers to ruins. The site became a UNESCO Word Heritage Site in 1999 and much archaeological and restoration work has taken place since the 1970s. This informative pocket book offers structural and historical details about the buildings and their significance and translations of some inscriptions. With black-and-white illustrations glossary and book list.)

040404
Allen’s Authentication Of Ancient Chinese Ceramics. Allen, Anthony J.. Nz. 2006. 340pp. hc $273.00 (Using his 23 years of experience in collecting and dealing in Chinese antiques, and offended by the fakes that are passed off as the genuine article, Anthony Allen has produced yet another book to help novices authenticate and protect their investments. This time, he focuses on the authentication of Chinese ceramics dating from the Neolithic period to the Ming dynasty, with 776 colour illustrations of both genuine and fake works. Outspoken, even abrasive, his words of caution to the new collector may not sit well with some dealers of these antiquities or with other specialists.)

039745
Burmese Design And Architecture (Reprinted 2006). Falconer, John et al (text); Luca Tettoni (photo). Sg. 2000. 224pp. pb $60.90 (This bestselling book on Myanmar architecture, art and design from 2000 is now reissued in paperback. Expert essays and glorious colour photographs examine the architecture of both secular and non-secular buildings across the length and breadth of the country as well as Burmese arts and crafts, including religious art, painting, lacquerware, ceramics and textiles.)

039753
Adventures Of The Treasure Fleet: China Discovers The World. Bowler, Ann Martin (text); Lk Tay-Audouard (illus). Us. 2006. 33pp. hc $31.50 (Here is the incredible story of seven epic voyages undertaken by the Chinese 600 years ago, led by the larger-than-life commander, Admiral Zheng He. Over 28 years, he and more than 300 gigantic, brightly painted ships of his “treasure fleet” sailed across the South China Sea, to the Indian Ocean and beyond to the distant coast of Africa. The Chinese were amazed to see the palaces, temples and the ways of life in the foreign lands. They befriended kings, charted unknown oceans, and were awestruck by Africa’s exotic animals. At each port, China’s best porcelains and silk were traded for pearls, precious stones, herbs and medicines. They brought treasures from dignitaries and faraway lands to pay tribute to the powerful emperor of China’s Ming Dynasty. In this beautifully illustrated book, the story of Zheng He and his voyages is written in a very readable style and in some detail for youngsters aged nine years and older.)