Like Facebook, for Academics

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Introducing, a social networking site that I got to know about last week. The idea is pretty much based on online social networking principles, except instead of superpoking one another you can link up to academics around the world, searching by institution, or research interest. Good for hooking up with peers and finding potential collaborators… or perhaps saying you’re in the same social network as Stephen Hawking.

Creating easy timelines on the web

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Another website I discovered on the web last week but haven’t gotten round to properly playing around with is TimeRime, a site that lets you create interactive timelines online easily. As a field focusing on “When” as much as the “Where” and “What”, you can see how this might be a good illustrative tool for presentations, but also in project planning as well. It’s also collaborative, so you can let other people comment or add other points in the timeline.

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Remains of a 8,000-year-old road discovered in Vietnam


In what seems to be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, an ancient road has been discovered in the Hoabinhian site of the Xom Trai Cave dating back to 8,000 – 9,000 years. Sadly, the story on VietNamNet doesn’t display any images of the road, but it indicates the presence of worn-out stones. Remains of an older nearby route, possibly related to the road find, dates even further back.

Ancient road found in cave
VietnamNet Bridge, 26 November 2008
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Vietnam hopes for World Heritage status in time for millenium anniversary

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Heritage authorities in Vietnam express hope that their bid to include the Thang Long Citadel as a World Heritage Site will be successful be 2010, in time for its 1,000th year anniversary. The royal citadel was said to be in use from the founding of the Ly Dynasty in 1010, which saw the beginning of a unified Vietnam distinct from its previous territorial owners China.

VN calls for recognition of Thang Long Royal Citadel [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 25 November 2008
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Call for Papers: 4th International Conference in Archaeological Tourism


A conference on Archaeological Tourism to be held in next April in Peru, home of the Machu Picchu, a World Heritage Site in danger of being loved to death (which also calls to mind Angkor). Read about the conference details below, and download the registration form here (Deadline 12 Jan 2009).

IV International Conference in Archaeological Tourism

Professionals and researchers of archaeological tourism are invited to participate in the IV International Conference in Archaeological Tourism. This event will take place in Trujillo (Peru), on April 3-5, 2009, organized by IBERTUR Network and PromPeru – Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board.
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At the World Rock-art course this week


I’ll be blogging sporadically this week, seeing how I’m at the University of Nottingham campus in KL for the World Rock-art course. It’s an intensive, 5-day course that started yesterday (Sunday) all the way to Thursday, covering theories and methodologies about rock art in all its forms – directly relevant to my field of study. In fact, the course will end with a field trip to Gua Tambun, my research site.

Paul Taçon, whom I met last year at a conference, is fronting most of the sessions for the week – he’s got a wealth of experience researching rock art in Australia. He’s in the news earlier this year for discovering a spectacular find of contact rock art in Arnhem Land in northern Australia; his colleague Sally May is also present for the course, and I’m looking forward to discussing the use of photoshop and other digital tools to enhance degraded rock paintings later on this week.

Malacca skeleton highlight of museum's archaeology exhibition

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A 600-year-old skeleton, one of the four recovered during the discovery of the old fort walls of Malacca, is the highlight of the Archaeology Discovery Exhibition at the Negri Sembilan Museum. The article states erroneously that four skeletons were found during the excavation – actually, 10 skeletons were found, but only four of the better-preserved and more complete skeletons were recovered.

600-year-old skeleton pulls in the crowd
New Straits Times, 21 November 2008
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The challenges of maintaining a World Heritage Site

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The prestige bestowed by the World Heritage Status sometimes overshadows the responsibilities attached to it, like in the recent case of Georgetown. The ancient Vietnamese capital of Hue, recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1993, still faces significant challenges in fulfilling adequate restoration, conservation and protection.

Vietnam Hue
photo credit: KetaiBlogger

Ancient capital and world cultural heritage faces challenges
Vietnam Net Bridge, 19 November 2008

According to the Centre for Preservation of Hue Imperial Relics, the entire complex of Hue imperial relics numbers at close to 300 works. Before the relics were recognized as a world cultural site, most of the construction work was damaged at different levels. Many were seriously downgraded and could collapse at anytime. Some 42h of citadel wall was eroded by plants. 100,000 sq.m of ponds and lakes need to be dredged. 33 bridges and sewers, as well as 20km of road were seriously damaged. The whole area of the Forbidden City nearly disappeared. The royal citadel only had 62 pieces out of the original 136 pieces. The imperial city had 97 damaged elements.

Related Books:
Global Treasures HUE Vietnam
– The cultural role of capital cities: Hanoi and Hue, Vietnam. : An article from: Pacific Affairs
– Forbidden City, Hue, Vietnam Framed Photographic Poster Print by Robin Allen, 21×29

Development plans endanger Georgetown's World Heritage Status

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To build or not to build? Development projects in the World Heritage Site of Georgetown, Penang may conflict with the guidelines set by the world heritage committee, endangering its new status. It is important to note that Penang is now controlled by the Malaysian opposition after elections earlier this year, and so the idea that Georgetown might have to choose between losing its World Heritage Status or settling lawsuits worth millions of dollars might turn out to be a political hot potato in the near future.

Old Building
photo credit: nimbu

Heritage at stake: Unesco status or high rise dilemma for Penang
The Star, 20 November 2008

Penang wants to retain George Town’s heritage status
The Star, 20 November 2008
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