Goodbye, 2010!

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!

Hue's culture and heritage 'dominated' by one dynasty

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.

Artefacts from Hue kept in storage. Thanh Nien News, 20101224

Monumental blunder
Thanh Nien News, 24 December 2010
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Archaeology has a community benefit

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.

Archaeology has community benefit
Viet Nam News, 25 December 2010
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Vietnam-Italy My Son Restoration finishes Phase II

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
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Ancient 'ruins' turn out to be a abandoned well

‘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.

Findings in Somba Opu is not Ancient Artifact
Tempo Interaktif, 17 December 2010
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Pile of bricks turn out to be a Hindu temple

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).

Pile of Bricks in Bojonegoro Presumed to be Ancient Hindu Temple
Tempo Interaktif, 15 December 2010
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Stone tools found at Khuoi Nang Cave

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.

Prehistoric artefacts found in Ha Giang
Saigon Giai Phuong, 15 December 2010
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Contact between the Malay World and Australia: The Rock Art of Djulirri

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 Rock Art of Djulirri (video series)
Archaeology Magazine, 14 December 2010
(In five parts. Part IV contains the video about Southeast Asian Praus in contact with Arnhem Land)
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Thang Long Citadel to become a cultural park

The Vietnamese government approves a plan to convert the Thang Long Citadel into a cultural park featuring a museum, archaeological displays and technical facilities.

Thang Long Citadel, Vietnam Net Bridge 20101214

Hanoi’s royal citadel to become cultural park
Vietnam Net Bridge, 14 December 2010
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