The head of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) in South Korea has expressed misgivings over the construction of a seven-story parking building in Ifugao, which she said might mar the already scarred sightline of the Banaue town center in Ifugao province.
Icomos is an advisory body of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco)
Rii Hae Un, a professor at the Department of Geography of Dongguk University in Seoul, also echoes her group’s concern over the uncontrolled development on the Ifugao Rice Terraces.
Last week, on February 17, Pryce, director of Mission Archéologique Française au Myanmar (MAFM) who leads the mission, and his team presented their findings at the French Institute in Yangon. Their research, conducted from 2014 to 2016, has provided a unique look into life in the Nyaung’gan Bronze Age.
“Bronze Age settlements in Southeast Asia are very rare. There are maybe four in Thailand and a couple in southern Vietnam. It seems that the settlement sites in Oakaie village are very big,” Pryce said.
Excavations to the south of Oakaie village in Butalin township in Sagaing Region have indentified where Bronze Age people lived and shows that many of them worked in the production of stone adzes, beads and bracelets.
Pryce said the findings should be a source of proud for the people for Myanmar and that they allow for the recovery of valuable information about the ways of life of our ancestors.
Cambodia on Monday received $124,000 worth of resources from South Korea to speed up the process of restoring ancient artefacts.
The donation to Cambodia’s department of the protection and preservation of antiquities included technological equipment valued at about $100,000, said Thai Norak Sathya, spokesman of Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
The money will go to the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh and the Angkor archaeological park in Siem Reap, he said. Each site received about $50,000 worth of devices to help restore artefacts stored at both locations.
A news report from the Irrawaddy highlights various problems with a recent campaign to restore the monuments of Mrauk-U in western Myanmar: improper restoration techniques, unauthorised construction and mismanagement of funds.
Throughout outgoing President Thein Sein’s term, the Arakan State government spent 1.5 billion kyats (over US$1.2 million) to preserve the remnants of the ancient Arakanese Mrauk U kingdom, according to the state’s annual audit report.
Yet some officials connected with the project allege that it has been fraught with mismanagement. Khin Than, chairperson of Mrauk U-based Heritage Trust, claims that halls within two famous temple complexes—the Ko-thaung and Shite-thaung pagodas—were damaged by government contractors’ negligence. New shrines were built alongside originals, she added—constructed out of concrete and sandstone.
Archaeologists and scholars of Mrauk U, which boasts more than 1,500 documented temples, have advocated for its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but fear that unscrupulous renovation of the ancient locale will put such an achievement further from reach.
A small clash last week between the Ministry of Culture and the tourism industry in Myanmar when the former abruptly banned the climbing of all temples in Bagan. This decision was quickly reversed after it was met with vocal opposition from many parties.
The Ministry of Culture has backpedalled on a decision to ban visitors from ascending pagodas in Bagan.
The edict, announced on February 22, prompted criticism from the tourism industry as well as from within the ministry. In barely 24 hours the ministry clarified its position, saying visitors would be banned from ascending all but five pagodas – its previous policy.
The ministry took the unpopular original decision because a medical company had conducted a cultural show on Pyathagyi Pagoda in the second week of February. It was to come into effect on March 1.
A priest in Philippines’ Iloilo province is relieved of his duties when he authorised construction on the ruins of an archaeologically significant ruin of an 18th century church, against the orders of the local bishop and the National Museum of the Philippines.
Even without proper permits, the parish priest of President Roxas town in Capiz province has continued to build a chapel inside the ruins of an 18th-century church in Barangay Aranguel, a former town founded by the Augustinians in 1704.
The chapel construction started in 2014 and is the project of the parish priest, Monsignor Alden Boliver. It has been ordered stopped by the National Museum and the Archdiocese of Capiz.
Human bones were recovered after the foundation was dug in 2014, prompting local officials to call the National Museum for an archaeological investigation in the area.
National Museum assistant director and osteologist Angel Bautista and his team recovered trade ware and ceramic shards dating back to the Sung and Ming dynasties.
“These archaeological materials are significant because these will provide insights into the earlier period of human occupation in the area. Furthermore, the walls of the old church are still intact and should be protected for posterity,” said a National Museum report published on its website in 2014.