Thailand will return seized artefacts to Cambodia

Thailand said that it might, and now it turns out it will. In an effort to repair the damage caused by the Preah Vihear dispute, Thailand has announced that it will return seven 18th-century sandstone busts that were smuggled into Thailand in 2000. Details of the handover have yet to be worked out and the artefacts are on display at the Thailand National Museum.

Thailand to return seized Cambodian artefacts

The Nation, 25 February 2009
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The modern erosion of Borobudur

With 2.5 million visitors a year and poor tourist management procedures in place, it looks like Borobudur is crumbling faster under the weight of tourist visits than being the sacred spot it was built to be.

Jogjakarta Trip
photo credit: irwandy

Borobudur at the crossroads
Jakarta Post, 23 February 2009
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Seized antiquities handed to police

Some 1,500 artefacts, seized from an unlicensed collector six years ago, have been finally handed over to the Quang Nam provincial authorities to exhibit in the local museum. The artefacts, mostly ceramics, were stored in boxes for most of the period and concerns have been raised that improper storage might have damaged the artefacts.

Artifact deterioration concerns after six-year storage
Thanh Nien News, 21 February 2009
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Trowulan's sacred watering holes

The civilisation of Angkor is renowned for its water management system of canals, irrigation channels and reservoirs; but fewer know about similar capabilities found in east Java’s Majapahit. Candi Tikus and Kolam Segaran are two such monumental features found in Trowulan.

The peaceful pools of the ancients
The Jakarta Post, 20 February 2009
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Changes sought for Angkor's pass system

Tourist operators are lobbying the Apsara Authority, which oversees the management of the Angkor Archaeological Park about making changes to the multi-day pass. A single-day pass costs USD20 while the USD40 pass allows for unlimited entry into the park over a period of three consecutive days; tourists argue that tourists usually suffer from temple fatigue by the second day and miss a last day of touring the temples. By making the multiday pass more flexible, tour operators argue, temple visitorship would rise and tourists can be convinced to stay longer. The argument makes sense from an economic point of view, but what would the effect 0f longer tourist stays and increased temple visitorships do to the already-strained environment?

1 (1733)
photo credit: dav.pal

Tourism operators take on Apsara
Phnom Penh Post, 19 February 2009
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Padang Hill: Southeast Asia's largest megalithic site

The Jakarta Globe features Padang Hill in West Java, a 900m high hill that is home to the largest concentration of megaliths found in Southeast Asia. Looks interesting – must add this to my to-visit list.

The Padang Stones: A Megalithic Mystery
Jakarta Globe, 18 Feb 2009
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Watch the Alien from Earth online

Alien from Earth is a PBS program broadcast last November about the famous Flores hominin, Flo. Watch the program online and check out the minisite here. The site also features a Q&A with Mike Morwood, one of the discoverers of the hobbit, and a teacher’s guide.

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Hobbit studies, in the wider scheme of things

What does the ongoing debate over the hobbit mean for palaeoanthropology and the study of man’s ancestor’s as a whole? William Moore sums up to ongoing debate and directions future research might take.

“Hobbits” of Flores: Implications for the pattern of human evolution
World Socialist Web Site, 16 February 2009
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Dendrochronology sheds light on Angkor's collapse

Stories about Angkor’s collapse makes it sound like there was one event that caused a civilisation to fall; I rather think there’s usually a confluence of factors. In Angkor, we can now add drought to the list which includes deforestation, breakdown of the water management system and attacks from neighbouring Siam. The conclusion of drought comes from a dendrochronology analysis, or the dating by tree rings, which is in itself a surprising technique because tree-ring dating is more reliable in temeperate climates where the seasonal changes produce more visible tree rings. I believe this may be first, or at the very least one of the few, instance where dendrochronology has been used in Southeast Asia (corrections, of course, are very welcome).

photo credit: Hazel Motes

Drought might have collapsed Cambodian Angkor city
AP, 18 February 2009
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Wednesday Rojak #50: The Cambodian Dinosaur edition

Rojak turns 50! Not that it has been 50 weeks since I first started this since I’ve missed quite a few weeks due to travels or sheer forgetfulness -it’s more like one and a half years. This week, we feature quite a few stories from Southeast Asia like the Cambodian dinosaur found on the walls of Ta Prohm (first featured in an earlier rojak) as well as several related to the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birthday.

aizu evolution
photo credit: neys

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