Malacca Museums investigate shipwreck looting in its waters

The state government of Malacca is investigating allegations that shipwrecks in its territorial waters have been looted, in activities that have been going on as far as the late 1990s.

Malacca probes sunken treasure thefts
The Star, 26 June 2011
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Engraved stone found in Philippine school

A rare inscribed stone written in an ancient Filipino script has been found in Masbate province in the Philippines, although there are already doubts over the authenticity of the find. It already has a sexy name though – the Rizal Stone, not so much directly named for the national hero, but after the Rizal Elementary School where the stone was found in (the school was in turn, named after the aforementioned national hero).

Ancient stone engraving found in elementary school
Philippine Online Chronicles, 24 June 2011

Heated debate surrounds origin of recently found stone
GMA News, 27 June 2011

Foreign scholars debunk stone tablet with old Philippine script as modern-day hoax
Gulf News, 21 June 2011

Ticaonon’s Own Alphabet
Youtube, 20 June 2011
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Vietnam's Ho Citadel included as World Heritage Site

Apart from Thailand’s abrupt departure from the Unesco World Heritage Convention, the other big news from the World Heritage Meeting this year is the inclusion of a new site from Vietnam – the Ho Citadel, a 14th century site of a dynasty that lasted for only 7 years!

Ho Citadel, Thanh Hoa Province

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty
Unesco Description

Sites in Ethiopia, Kenya and Viet Nam inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List
Unesco News, 27 June 2011

Ho Dynasty Citadel now World Heritage
VOV News, 28 June 2011

Ho Dynasty Citadel becomes world cultural heritage
Vietnam Net Bridge, 28 June 2011
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'Shipwrecked' at the Smithsonian postponed due to outcry

This just in. The New York Times reports that the ‘Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds’ exhibition currently exhibiting at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore has been postponed, til at least 2013, due to concerns over the commercial salvage operation related to the recovery of the cargo. I wonder if the exhibition is going to stay in Singapore for a little longer now?

Shipwrecked Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, Singapore

Shipwreck Show Postponed
New York Times, 28 June 2011
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Amateur collector shows off collection from the Red River

A feature story about an amateur collector of antiquities who has spent much of his retirement collecting artefacts from the banks of the Red River in Hanoi.

Nguyen Viet Hong, amatuer collector. Viet Nam News 20110620

Red River bank collector pieces history together
Viet Nam News, 20 June 2011
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Thailand pulls out of Unesco

The big news over the weekend is Thailand’s withdrawal from the Unesco World Heritage Convention, after the World Heritage committee supposedly decided to accept Cambodia’s management plan (The plan was apparently tabled for discussion). It looks like Thailand has upped the ante now, and with their withdrawal it means that their country no longer has to comply with Unesco rulings. I wonder how this withdrawal will affect their relations with Cambodia and also, what their resignation means for their other world heritage sites like Ban Chiang, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Also, how does the current Thai elections, scheduled for this Sunday, fit into this issue?

Border villagers living in fear
Bangkok Post, 27 June 2011

Cabinet to discuss WHC implications
Bangkok Post, 27 June 2011

Thailand withdraws from World Heritage Convention
VOV News, 27 June 2011

UNESCO Director-General regrets the announcement of Thailand’s intention to denounce the 1972 World Heritage Convention
Unesco Press, 26 June 2011

Thai leader defends leaving UN heritage site body
AP, via Today, 26 June 2011

Thailand quits heritage body amid temple row
AFP, via Saigon Giai Phong, 26 June 2011

Thailand pulls out of World Heritage Convention
MCOT, 26 June 2011

Government to pull out of WHC
Bangkok Post, 26 June 2011

Thailand threatens to quit World Heritage group
Bangkok Post, 25 June 2011

Preah Vihear plan set for UNESCO review
Phnom Penh Post, 24 June 2011
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Golden letter from Burmese king rediscovered in Germany

An 18th century letter written by King Alaungmintaya to King George II has been rediscovered – in a library in Hanover. The letter was no ordinary piece of correspondence, having been written on a plaque of gold and decorated with rubies!

Golden letter from a Myanmar king

Myanmar Times, 20-26 June 2011
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Shipwreck off Java thought to be the "biggest porcelain haul" in Indonesa

The discovery of a shipwreck off Java promises to store a massive haul of Ming porcelain, with salvage operations beginning later this year. The Wanli Cargo (not to be mistaken with the Wanli Shipwreck in Malaysian waters) Nikolaus Graf Sandizell, CEO of Arqueonautas, one of the companies responsible for the salvage operation also got in touch with me recently to point me in the direction of their websites, the Wanli Cargo and Arquenautas Publications.

Divers inspecting the Wanli Cargo off Java, Straits Times 20110617

‘Biggest porcelain haul’ found in Indonesia
AFP via The Straits Times, 17 June 2011
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