Seminar: Revisiting the Bujang Valley

Readers may be interested in this seminar on the Bujang Valley at the National University of Singapore.

Bujang Valley Museum

Revisiting the Bujang Valley: An Entrepôt Complex at the Heart of the Maritime Silk Route
Dr Stephen Murphy
Date: 29 October 2014
Time: 3 pm
Venue: National University of Singapre. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Block AS1, #03-04, 11 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

In the early 1830s and 1840s a British colonial official by the name of Colonel James Low uncovered evidence for an early Indic influenced civilisation in a river system known as the Bujang Valley on the west coast of the Thai-Malay peninsula, in what is today the Malaysian state of Kedah. However, it wasn’t until just before World War Two that excavations took place, conducted by H. G. Quaritch Wales and his wife Dorothy. Their discoveries and subsequent publications led to the first real attempts to explain the origins and extent of this civilisation and its place within the larger South and Southeast Asian world. The finds and artefacts discovered during their expedition were sent to the Raffles Museum Singapore. With the independence of Singapore in 1965, the material stayed within the museum and to this day remains part of Singapore’s national collection. In the intervening years between Quaritch Wales’s excavations and the present day, considerably more research has taken place both within the Bujang Valley region and across Southeast Asia as a whole. This talk will re-evaluate this material in the light of new scholarship and discoveries as well as the current prevailing paradigms of interactions between South and Southeast Asia. It presents an updated reading of this material while also taking a look at the Bujang Valley from a more regional perspective to further understand its place within the development of the maritime silk route.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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