Sharing our Archaeological Heritage – Day 3

After nine sessions and 37 papers, the final day was certainly about letting our hair down and enjoying the new friendships made – along with taking the obligatory photos! Day 3 was a tour of the various cultural sites of Johor: the morning was a visit to the Johor Art Gallery as well as the Sultan’s palace museum, while in the afternoon, I hitched a ride with an international group of archaeologists who wanted to make a quick visit to Singapore. In lieu of the free ride home I gave them the grand tour of Singapore (abridged for the five-hour time frame).

Johor Palace Museum
Johor Palace Museum



Some of the new friends I made during these past three days: This is Goh Hsiao Mei, a MA student at Universiti Sains Malaysia. She presented a paper on some human skeletal remains she excavated at Gua Kajang at Perak, not very far away from the site of Gua Gunung Runtuh where Perak Man was excavated.

Paul Tacon of Griffith University in Australia, along with Anahita from Iran who is currently an MA student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. All three of us are researching rock art – Dr Tacon in Australia, which Anahita and I are looking at the same corpus of rock art from Peninsular Thailand and Malaysia.

So, where does one take an international (Philippines, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) group of archaeologists visiting Singapore for only a few hours to spare? I decided on one cultural site and one shopping site. For the cultural site, we went up to Fort Canning, one of the most historically rich areas of Singapore for a visit to the Fort Canning Archaeological Display, as well as to take a walk through the national park. My guests seemed quite taken with the entire place, not just the dig site alone, but with other park features such as the spice garden.


L-R: Vu The Long and Nguyen Thi Mai Huong (Vietnam), Supaporn Nakbunlung and Surapol Natapintu (Thailand), me, Wilfredo Ronquillo and Grace Barretto-Tesoro (Philippines), Nguyen Kim-Dung and ? (Vietnam) and Leee Neri (Philippines). Not in picture: Viengkeo Souksavatdy (Laos)

And what of shopping? Singaporeans would probably recognise the location – Sim Lim Square, *the* place for cheap, quality electronics. No kidding – a couple of them actually specified this place by name! It was here that I bid my guests goodbye as they went about shopping, and later back to Johor.

As for me, I returned home and had a good rest – back to the work grind for me!

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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