Kite aerial photography mixes work, play

27 March 2007 (Jakarta Post) – Not related to the archaeology of Indonesia, but this feature on the use of kites for photography presents a low-cost option for creating aerial photographs for archaeological applications. I haven’t heard of any major use of aerial photography for archaeology in Southeast Asia – yet.

Kite aerial photography mixes work, play

Flying kites as a hobby often implies child’s play, which is not too far off the mark. But rather than a mere pastime, kites also help in research and public service work — at least for Anshori Djausal, 55. His hobby has contributed much to aerial mapping.

Known as a pioneer of kite aerial photography in Indonesia, Anshori has been engaged in this activity since the 1990s, which has also taken him to several European and Asian countries to follow international kite festivals.

But he relishes his happiest moments as those through which his aerial photo experiments served research and mapping in Indonesia, aside from tourism development.

Aerial photography has typically utilized hot-air balloons, planes, helicopters and satellites. Kite aerial photography has become an alternative today because it is more practical and far less expensive than the use of aircraft or helicopters.

Today, kite aerial photography is an alternative method used in geographical mapping, planning and surveys, and through which data collection can be conducted easily, effectively and efficiently.

A 2-by-15 meter kite can be used for photographing with a pocket camera at a height of 100 meters and over and at wind speeds of 15-30 mph.

Corruption of our history books

30 March 2007 (Lim Kit Siang’s blog) – Lim Kiat Siang is a leading opposition figure in Malaysian politics. In this post, he features a write-up on how knowledge of Malaysia’s history is only limited to the founding of the Melaka Sultanate in the 1400s – thus ignoring the rich Hindu-Buddhist influences of the time preceding that, as evidenced by clay moulds to form Buddhist stupas and Hindu architecture in Kedah. Note: the term ‘Savarnadvipa’ might possibly refer to the regions of Burma or Sumatra or Java.

Corruption of our history books

In very recent times, the starting date for the study of Malaysian history in the schools has been conveniently fixed around 1400 C.E. It probably coincides with the founding of the Sultanate of Malacca by Parameswara.

Today, Malaysian school children only learn a little bit about the early Proto Malays and then are conveniently taken on a historical quantum leap to the founding of Malacca.

Early Indian works speak of a fantastically wealthy place called Savarnadvipa, which meant “land of gold”. This mystical place was said to lie far away, and legend holds that this was probably the most valid reason why the first Indians ventured across the Bay of Bengal and arrived in Kedah around 100 B.C.

Apart from trade, the early Indians brought a pervasive culture, with Hinduism and Buddhism sweeping through the Indo-Chinese and Malay archipelago lands bringing temples and Indian cultural traditions. The local chiefs began to refer to themselves as “rajahs” and also integrated what they considered the best of Indian governmental traditions with the existing structure.

I learnt Malayan history in the 1950s and taught it in the 1960s and 1970s in secondary schools. All the history textbooks at the time had the early Indian connection specifically mentioned in them. Teachers of that period taught about the early Indianised kingdoms of Langkasuka, Sri Vijaya and Majapahit that existed from as early as 100 C.E.

Anyone can see that Parameswara, the founder of Malacca, has a clearly give-away name that points to the Indian/Hindu influence. No one can deny this, and all our children need to know about this. They have the fundamental right to learn about this aspect of our history too.


Related Books:
Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula by P. M. Munoz
Nationalism, Politics, and the Practice of Archaeology (New Directions in Archaeology) by P. L. Kohl, C. Fawcett (Eds)
The Politics of Archaeology and Identity in a Global Context (Aia Colloquia and Conference Papers) by S. Kane

Museum of Nias Heritage blog

You might have heard of Nias Island from the 2004 tsunami, where it was hit hard because of its location near North Sumatra. The Museum Pusaka Nias, or the Museum of Nias Heritage has a blog. Although last updated in Feb 07, it still has quite a few articles dating back to 1986 (although concentrated over the last two years). The site is in Bahasa Indonesia, though, and from what I can gather it has updates about its collections as well as the reconstruction of the museum. Nias Island is particularly known for its megaliths.

Museum of Nias Heritage


Related Books:
Forgotten Kingdoms in Sumatra (Oxford Paperback Reference) by F. M. Schnitger

Two Chinese arrested in Vietnam with smuggled artifacts

4 men are arrested near the Vietnam-China border for smuggling artefacts. The article does not specify the exact kinds of artefacts, although the bronze drum would almost certainly be of the Dong son type.

27 March 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – 4 men are arrested near the Vietnam-China border for smuggling artefacts. The article does not specify the exact kinds of artefacts, although the bronze drum would almost certainly be of the Dong son type.

Two Chinese arrested in Vietnam with smuggled artifacts

Four men have been arrested, including two Chinese nationals, on the Chinese border on suspicion of smuggling antiquities, Vietnamese police said Monday.

They were apprehended last Friday in Mong Cai town with several items in their possession, some of which have been identified as ancient Vietnamese artifacts.

The police seized 36 items, including 1 bronze drum, 59 earrings, 10 statues, and a ceramic jar, according to the Cong An Nhan Dan (People’s Police) newspaper.

“The authorities are studying the items to identify their ages,” Nguyen Huu Khia[/tag], deputy head of the provincial police’s investigation department, said Monday.

Cambodia mulls over restricting access to Angkor Wat Temple

26 March 2007 (TravelVideo.TV) – Just what the headline says, a possible institution of a reservation system to visit the Angkor temples. Gee I hope this doesn’t spoil my plans to visit Angkor in June…

Cambodia mulls over restricting access to Angkor Wat Temple

Cambodian officials are reportedly mulling over measures to restrict tourist access to Angkor Wat Temple, in an effort to prevent its further deterioration. The ravages of nature over time and the water table have taken a toll on the UNESCO listed World Heritage site, putting some at risk and further weakening their “structural integrity,” said experts from UNESCO.


Related Books:
Angkor: A Tour of the Monuments by T. Zephir
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition (Odyssey Illustrated Guide) by D. Rooney
The Site of Angkor (Images of Asia) by J. Dumarcay and M. Smithies

Tomb ‘may get swept away’

A 16th century tomb belonging to a Malay general is in risk of being swept away due to flooding of a nearby river.

26 March 2007 (New Straits Times) – A 16th century tomb belonging to a Malay general is in risk of being swept away due to flooding of a nearby river.

New Straits Times, 26 Mar 2007

Tomb ‘may get swept away’

A tomb, believed to be that of a senior general of Johor’s Sultan Mahmud Shah II, which is located on the banks of Sungai Linggi here, is in danger of being swept away by the river if no preservation work is done immediately.

The tomb, which the locals believe is the resting place of Datuk Maharajalela Sheikh Ahmad Hussein, is one of three originally located there.

“The other two tombs have been swept away by the river. If nothing is done to this tomb soon, it will suffer the same fate,” said Kamaruzzaman Abdullah, 65, who has lived in the area for many years.

Kamaruzzaman, who accompanied the New Straits Times to the tomb, said the two tombs belong to relatives of Sheikh Ahmad Hussein.

The three tombs, known to locals as Makam Bukit Tiga, date back to the 16th century.

Three-day seminar examines state of the nation

A mention about an archaeology paper to be presented at a three-day anthropological seminar in Thailand and the state from 28 to 30 March.

26 March 2007 (The Nation) – A mention about an archaeology paper to be presented at a three-day anthropological seminar in Thailand and the state from 28 to 30 March.

Three-day seminar examines state of the nation

With the Thai state facing various problems such as border lands, stateless people and conflict in the predominantly Muslim deep South, about 300 scholars will share their views on the situation at a three-day anthropological seminar titled “State: From daily life’s point of view” this week.

A discourse on the construction of national history will also be among the topics of discussion at the seminar, to be held from Wednesday to Friday at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre.

Pipad, who has been studying the history and archaeology of Mae Hong Son, found that in the process of constructing a national history, Thailand adopts some non-Thai ethnic groups as part of the nation while neglecting others whose histories do not fit in with the national history.

“As a result, these latter groups are finally constructed as the stateless people,” he wrote.


Related Books:
Caves of Northern Thailand by P. Sidisunthorn

Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

A new link added to the Resource page, although the entity linked to is definitely not new at all! The Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS) remains one of the few journals that regularly publishes papers about archaeology in Malaysia. About the society itself:

The Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (henceforth called the Society) is a learned society devoted to the task of collecting, recording and diffusing information about Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Its primary objective is to promote a greater interest in the study of the region, and to this end, it publishes a journal and carries out other scholarly activities.A brainchild of a group of colonial administrators, the Society has since 4 November 1877 enjoyed the patronage of top-ranking officials like the Governors of the Straits Settlements, Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore and the Sultan of Brunei. Among its council members are distinguished officials and academicians, ranging from Sir Frank A. Swettenham, Sir Richard Winstedt and H.N. Ridley of the colonial government to Tan Sri Nik Ahmed Kamil and Tun Mohamed Suffian bin Hashim of the Malaysian government and to academicians like Dr. Alastair Lamb, Professor Wang Gungwu and Professor S. Arasaratnam of the University of Malaya.

One can purchase a reprints and monographs from the Society’s website.

Kediri archeological discovery offers clues on ancient kingdom

I’ve just been reading about the Kadiri (Kediri) kingdom, which existed between the 11 and 13 centuries. King Prabu Joyoboyo might correspond with the King Sri Maharaja Sang Jayabhaya Sri Vermesvara, who reigned between 1134 – 1144, under whom the Kediri Kingdom reached its height.

24 March 2007 (Jakarta Post) – I’ve just been reading about the Kadiri (Kediri) kingdom, which existed between the 11 and 13 centuries. King Prabu Joyoboyo might correspond with the King Sri Maharaja Sang Jayabhaya Sri Vermesvara, who reigned between 1134 – 1144, under whom the Kediri Kingdom reached its height. The rest of the article describes peculiarities of the Tondowongso site, in particular some exceptional statues that have been uncovered and their placement in the excavated temple complex that seem to differ from the other regional temples of the same period.

Jakarta Post, 24 Mar 2007

Kediri archeological discovery offers clues on ancient kingdom

Recent archeological discoveries at a Tondowongso excavation site in the East Java town of Kediri have opened the possibility that the once-glorious Kadiri Kingdom was located in a nearby region.

West of Gayam village in Pagu district, archeologists also discovered the personal remnants of Kadiri King Prabu Joyoboyo. Archeologists believe the site, said to be a temple, which has since been converted into a meditation area by locals, is closely linked with Gayam village.

An epigraphist at BP3, Ririet Suryandani, said a toponymic analysis could be used to uncover the exact location of the Kadiri Kingdom.

“We can determine the exact location of the kingdom from studying the hundreds of historical statues found,” said Ririet at the excavation site.

Ririet believes the discovery of an ancient inscription at the Tondowongso site could also explain the function, name and purpose of the historical building, adding it could be presented in various forms, such as on an encrypted stone, bronze or gold plate.

Binh Thuan to buy back 12 ancient cannons

22 March 2007 (Viet Nam Net Bridge) – It may sound confusing: cannons are excavated from Binh Thuan province, the museum buys them in the open market and sells them back to the said province. It would seem that there is no automatic protection over archaeological discoveries – a case of finder’s keepers?

Viet Nam Net Bridge, Viet Nam Net Bridge 2007

Binh Thuan to buy back 12 ancient cannons

The HCM City-based Museum of History plans to sell to the southern province of Binh Thuan 12 of the 24 cannons from the Nguyen Dynasty unearthed in Binh Thuan in 2005.