11th century altar unearthed during carpark construction

An 11th century altar, believed to be significant in the Ly Dynasty period of Vietnam, was unearthed during the construction of an underground car park. The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences has written to the Prime Minister to intervene.

11th century altar unearthed in Hanoi. source: Thanh Nien News 20141126
11th century altar unearthed in Hanoi. source: Thanh Nien News 20141126

Social scientists ask Vietnam’s PM to protect ancient altar
Thanh Nien News, 26 November 2014
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Professor Higham receives social sciences award

Professor Charles Higham receives the Mason Durie Medal for social sciences, in recognition for his long work in understanding the archaeology of Southeast Asia.

Academics honoured
Otago Daily Times, 27 November 2014
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Apsara Authority refutes claims about Angkor park ticketing

A couple more stories related to the license to issue tickets at Angkor. The Apsara Authority has refuted claims that the monuments have been rented out to an extra-national company.

Cambodia-2656 - Bye Angkor Wat

Apsara Authority Rejects Claim Angkor Wat ‘Rented Out’
Cambodia Daily, 27 November 2014

Eyes on Aspara’s pot of gold
TTR Weekly, 27 November 2014
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Global implications of Southeast Asian rock art

Earlier this week, the journal Antiquity published a paper entitled ‘The global implications of the early surviving rock art of greater Southeast Asia’, which I was a co-author of. The paper touches on a number of rock art projects that have happened in the recent years: my contribution was on the rock art of Gua Tambun in Malaysia, which I investigated as part of my MA, and the paper also touches on the rock art of Cambodia that later became part of my PhD thesis. Other regions included Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia – the last of which is fresh in our minds because of recent research that shows it was as old, if not older than the painted caves in Europe.

Source: Antiquity 88(342)
Source: Antiquity 88(342)

Since the discovery of the painted caves of France, rock art studies has tended to be dominated by Eurocentrism as the ‘origin’ of art. Far from arguing that Southeast Asia is the origin of art, we are beginning to see with Southeast Asia, and I expect in other parts of the world that the tradition of painting in rock surfaces was widespread, even in prehistoric times, and may have begun even before humankind started moving out of Africa into other parts of the world. This paper is a snapshot of rock art research in Southeast Asia, and I am glad to be part of it.

Links to the paper in article in Antiquity and some of the associated news stories:

The global implications of the early surviving rock art of greater Southeast Asia
Antiquity, 88(342): 1050-1064

New evidence of ancient rock art across Southeast Asia
Eureka Alerts, 25 November 2014

Ancient Rock Art Discovered Across Asia was Created by Prehistoric Humans
Science World Report, 26 November 2014

Ancient Rock Art Splattered Across Southeast Asia
Nature World News, 26 November 2014

Rock art origins reappraised
Phnom Penh Post, 28 November 2014
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Gold artefacts from Oc Eo recognised in Vietnam Book of Records

The gold artefacts from southern Vietnam has been recognised as the largest hoard of its kind in the country.

Oc Eo Gold. Source: Viet Nam News 20141125
Oc Eo Gold. Source: Viet Nam News 20141125

Gold antiques of Oc Eo culture get recognition
Viet Nam News, 25 November 2014
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Angkoran canal destroyed

A Cambodian archaeologist is raising the alert that an ancient Angkoran canal is being destroyed – in some cases being dismantled in order to be converted into kilns.

Angkoran canal at risk. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20141124
Angkoran canal at risk. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20141124

Expert urges gov’t to save site
Phnom Penh Post, 24 November 2014
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The looting of antiquities in Southeast Asia

Last week Unesco organised a symposium on the illicit trafficking of antiquities (which I will write a little bit more about in a later post), here is a news writeup on it, although it doesn’t actually mention the symposium itself, it quotes a number of speakers there.

SE Asian artefacts under threat from looters: UN
Channel NewsAsia, 21 November 2014
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Thailand’s stolen past returns home

The Nation’s story about the recently-repatriated Ban Chiang artefacts from the US.

An expert from the Fine Arts Department inspects the returned artefacts. Source: The Nation 20141124
An expert from the Fine Arts Department inspects the returned artefacts. Source: The Nation 20141124

Heritage comes home
The Nation, 24 November 2014
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Is a Cambodian inscription the earliest record of the number zero?

A blurb for an upcoming book, Finding Zero, about the origins of the numeral ‘0’. It seems that the oldest inscriptional evidence thus far comes from a Khmer stele K127.

K127. Source: Smithsonian 201411
K127. Source: Smithsonian 201411

The Origin of the Number Zero
Smithsonian Magazine, December 2014
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