The last two weeks of December have been pretty low on stories, and no surprise there since it’s the holiday season (even though most Southeast Asians don’t celebrate Christmas in the Christian sense). I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s worth of archaeology news from Southeast Asia, and we’ll see you again next year!
Historians and cultural heritage experts say that the presentation of Hue’s history and culture to the layperson has been focused too much on the recent Nguye Dynasty and not enough on the preceding 2000 years.
Thanh Nien News, 24 December 2010
In many Southeast Asian cases, archaeologists are called in to investigate a site after locals discover items in the ground; in many cases, archaeologists are the last to know because sites are looted first for gold and precious objects. In a recent conference in Vietnam, Southeast Asian archaeologists talk about the benefits of community involvement in archaeology, as a way to protect the site from looters, as well as a way for locals to generate income after archaeological studies are completed. For an idea about the extent of looting in this part of the world, try this link to recent looting stories hosted on this site, or Damien Huffer’s blog. A good example of a community-based archaeology project in Southeast Asian can be found in the Highland Archaeology Project based in Pang Mapha province in Thailand, which is run by Dr. Rasmi Shoocongdej of Silpakorn University. You can see a list of related stories here.
Archaeologists discover a 2,000-year-old tomb at the site of Go Den Ran, located in the outskirts of Hanoi.
The second phase of a Vietnamese-Italian collaboration to help restore and conserve the My Son Sanctuary has been completed. The My Son Sanctuary is a World Heritage Site in central Vietnam of Cham brick structures built between the 4th and 13th centuries.
Italy helps My Son World Heritage restoration
VOV News, 22 December 2010
‘Ruins’ found in Makassar were determined to be a well used in the 1950s, with the earthenware found at the site thought to be fairly recent rather than ancient.
Tempo Interaktif, 17 December 2010
A pile of bricks in a village in East Java may very well be the remains of a Hindu temple from the Majapahit period (15th-16th century).
Tempo Interaktif, 15 December 2010
Vietnamese archaeologists discover stone tools in a cave in North Vietnam. Besides the tools, a good amount of ‘red stone powder’ (ochre?) was found, which is thought to have been used as funerary body ornamentation.
If you pick up the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine (Jan/Feb 2011), you’ll find their headlining feature on the rock art of Australia, and in particular the rock art at Djulirri in Arnehm Land of northern Australia has a massive complex of rock art depicting thousands of years of history, including the arrival of Macassan ships or praus in the 16th-17th centuries. The full online article is available by subscription, but the website has a nice photo gallery and videos of Dr. Paul Tacon explaining the site.
Reading the Rocks
Archaeology Magazine, Jan/Feb 2011
The Rock Art of Malarrak
Archaeology Magazine, 14 December 2010
The Vietnamese government approves a plan to convert the Thang Long Citadel into a cultural park featuring a museum, archaeological displays and technical facilities.
Hanoiâ€™s royal citadel to become cultural park
Vietnam Net Bridge, 14 December 2010