Making changes to the blog

Dear readers, you might have noticed of late that I’ve been updating this blog a lot less frequenly that usual, and not because there is a lack of news. On the contrary, there is an ever-growing backlog of archaeology stories from Southeast Asia that I have yet to post, but it has been increasingly hard to keep up!

When I started this blog 10 (!) years ago the internet was a different place. Back then, I used this blog to manually index all the news stories about Southeast Asian archaeology. Today, news is much more easily shared through social media. Combined with my day job at SEAMEO SPAFA, which keeps me pretty busy in the work of promoting research, education and capacity building in Southeast Asian archaeology, I have had less time to attend to this site regularly and I find that many of the news stories I have saved to post for later have already been shared.

No, I’m not taking the website down – I believe the site is still a great information resource, and on a personal level it has been an endeavour I am proud of. But the times have changed, and the way I run this site must change too. For a start, I will post news stories through the Facebook page and Twitter account – this will make the news more timely and frequent. So I encourage you to follow me on those channels. For those who prefer not to use those Facebook or Twitter, I will also put up a Facebook window on this site so that you can read the news without having to be a member of Facebook.

The site itself will be updated with posts that are less time-sensitive, what I call slow posts, such as calls for papers and upcoming conference notifications. These kinds of posts often get lost in the unending stream of news but they need some time to digest and respond to. I will also continue to update the resources page on the website, and maybe post the occasional drone video when it relates to something archaeological.

Moving the bulk of the news posts to Facebook and Twitter will keep to the original spirit of the site as an archive of archaeology news from the region. I’m open to other suggestions on how to make this website more useful to you in the future – leave a comment below or email me. Thanks again for following the Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog, and I hope to see and interact with you on Facebook and Twitter.

The Southeast Asian Archaeology Facebook Group

SEAArch on Twitter

Borobudur authority mulls plan to restrict visitors

Authorities are considering restricting the number of visitors to Borobudur to 15 at any one time to limit structural damage to the ancient monument.

Borobudur. Source: Indonesia Investments 20160831
Borobudur. Source: Indonesia Investments 20160831

Govt to Only Allow 15 Visitors at a Time at Borobudur Temple
Jakarta Globe, 30 August 2016

Authorities Indonesia to Limit Visitor Numbers at Borobudur Temple
Indonesia Investments, 31 August 2016

The government plans to limit the number of visitors who will be allowed access to Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, to only 15 at any given time, an official said on Tuesday (30/08).

State-run Antara news agency quoted Nadjamuddin Ramly, the director of heritage and cultural diplomacy at the Ministry of Education and Culture, as saying that there are concerns about the preservation of the ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist temple. He said the Unesco World Heritage Site often receives hundreds of visitors, who all enter the at the same time, which may affect the building’s structural integrity.

He said the government will issue a regulation that limits the number of people allowed to enter at any given time. The figure of 15 is based on research data related to the structural capacity of the building.

Full stories here and here.

Hotels in Bagan’s protected zone in limbo

The Myanmar government is deciding between granting special exemptions or demolishing some 25 hotels that have been illegally built in the protected area of Bagan.

Hoteliers Left in Limbo in Bagan
The Irrawady, 22 August 2016

The government remains undecided on whether to grant official approval to unsanctioned hotels that were built in Bagan’s famed archaeological zone without the permission of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.

Existing laws prohibit commercial buildings in Bagan’s archaeological zone but for 25 hotels that have already been built, the ministry is debating whether to allow or demolish them, said Aye Ko Ko, director of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, at a press conference on the ministry’s 100-day plan in Naypyidaw on Friday.

“According to the law, hotels, motels and guesthouses can’t be built in archaeological zones unless the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture approves. This approval cannot be authorized by local authorities or our department,” said Aye Ko Ko.

Full story here.