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Preserving Angkor’s ancient bridges on National Road 6

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Phnom Penh Post, 04 May 2017

Driving along National Road 6 from Phnom Penh towards Kampong Thom and Siem Reap, one will spot the looming heads of stone serpents – or nagas – on the hundreds of ancient bridges built between the 10th and 14th centuries.

Source: Untampered and intact ancient bridges to stay that way, Post Property, Phnom Penh Post

Central province's ancient stone musical instruments may be exhibited abroad

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10 May 2006 (Nhan Dan) – Very short story, with related links on Vietnamese stone instruments.

Central province’s ancient stone musical instruments may be exhibited abroad

The authorities of the central province of Phu Yen was asked to bring two ancient stone musical instruments to an exhibition of the world’s rare stone objects, to be held at the [tag]National Museum of Belgium[/tag].

Ancient DNA Study Pokes Holes in Horse Domestication Theory

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via National Geographic News, 09 May 2018: Not directly related to Southeast Asia, but may have implications further down the road in relation to when horses first appear in the archaeological record.

A long-held theory on how horse domestication and language spread across Asia has been disrupted by a look at our genetic past.

Source: Ancient DNA Study Pokes Holes in Horse Domestication Theory

[Lecture] Common Heritage through Ancient Communication Networks in Mainland Southeast Asia

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Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk by Dr Surat Lertlum on 18 January 2018:

Since 2005, Thai and Khmer scholars have conducted research utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches, including archaeology, anthropology, geo-informatics, geo-physics and information technology, with the continued and generous support of the Thailand Research Fund (TRF). At the outset, the study focused on the royal roads from Angkor. The work of the international team has benefited from the results of remote sensing surveys, which have significantly helped the systematic ground trusting conducted during several campaigns in Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. The team, consisting of experts from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, subsequently expanded the scope of its study to identify the cultural relationships involving Mainland Southeast Asia, based on ancient communication networks. This presentation will be centered on the cross-border, multi-disciplinary research on ancient communication networks in Mainland Southeast Asia, aimed at identifying all the remaining sections of ancient roads and communication networks in the region. The discussion will extend to cities connected by ancient roads and trails, as well as waterways serving as communication networks, revealing physical evidence of cultures interconnected by a complex range of different communication systems and the common heritage that ensued from these ancient networks.

Common Heritage through Ancient Communication Networks in Mainland Southeast Asia. A Talk by Surat Lertlum

CFP: Re-Thinking Globalisation in the Ancient World

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From the 8th to the 10th May 2018, there will be multi-disciplinary and international conference at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter entitled:

“Re-Thinking Globalisation in the Ancient World”

The aim is to explore approaches to the theme of ‘globalisation’ across the ancient world, c.500 BCE to 700 CE, from a methodological, cultural, and economic perspective. Methodological issues relating to the theme of ‘globalisation’ will be analysed in different contexts, notably the application of this concept in different regions and different periods of the ancient world. For example, one can scrutinise such a concept in the multi-ethnic Seleukid Empire, study concepts of local identities in the ‘global world’ of the Roman Empire or ancient China, consider concepts like ‘Mediterranisation’ and ‘Oikoumenisation’, or explore interaction and cultural exchange between the Roman world, Africa, Southern Asia and China.

We are inviting papers that will broadly fit one or more of the following themes for any region across the ancient world and from any disciplinary perspective. We will also consider significant methodological papers from other periods.

Proposed sessions so far:

1) Globalisation in Antiquity – a valid approach?

2) Empires and the concept of Globalisation

3) Migration and diaspora

4) Shaping local identities in a ‘global world’

5) Individual and regional responses to globalisation across the ancient
world

6) The Indian Ocean and the movement of goods, ideas and peoples

7) How connected was the Afro-Eurasian world?

Deadline for proposals: 1st January 2018. Please send a short abstract of no more than 400 words for your paper, plus a short CV, to the session organisers. If you wish to propose a session, please send us an abstract and a list of potential speakers by the end of November. The time allocated for each paper will be approximately 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for discussion. And of course we intend to publish the papers in an edited volume.

Conference fee to cover tea, coffee, reception and lunch: £45 (£30 for
students and speakers; free for UWTSD students)

We have applied for funding to reimburse speakers’ expenses (e.g., accommodation and travel expenses), but we cannot promise you any reimbursement at the moment; we will keep you posted.

Organisers and contact details:

– Dr Matthew Cobb – m.cobb@uwtsd.ac.uk

– Assoc.-Prof. Ralph Haeussler – r.haeussler@uwtsd.ac.uk

Place: Lampeter campus, Academy of Cultural Heritage, University of
Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Lampeter, SA48 7ED, Wales, U.K.

Further details will be circulated in due course.

Lecture: Ancient Medical Industries in Cambodia and the 2017 NSC Archaeological Field School

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in the talk by Dr Kyle Latinis at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre later this week.

Date: 19 October 2017
Time: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Venue:Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

The 2017 Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC) Archaeological Field School recently assisted APSARA Authority with rather incredible discoveries at the late 12th century Tonle Snguot hospital site located in the Angkor Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia. The discoveries included a 2.0 metre guardian statue (Dvarapala) and several rare Buddha statues – one of which may be a “Healing” or “Medicine” Buddha (Bhaisajyaguru).

The Tonle Snguot site is located outside the northern gate of the famed and massive Angkor Thom urban complex. Both Angkor Thom and Tonle Snguot are associated with King Jayavarman VII (1181-1218 CE), a Mahayana Buddhist who sanctioned the construction of 102 hospitals outside the city gates, along major roads, and at different urban sites throughout the kingdom. Our research purpose aimed to understand the nature of the hospital complex. Hospitals included both practical medicine and complementary spiritual healing. Additionally, it is probably no accident that a hospital is located just outside the main gates at Angkor Thom – possibly serving as checkpoints to assure healthy and sane people entered the city.

The Field School involved one week of excavations at the site to train East Asia Summit participants in basic field methods and research design. Other aspects of the Field School included site trips throughout Cambodia and Singapore to incorporate art history, history, historical ecology and several overlapping fields in order to emphasize archaeology’s multi-disciplinary nature. The participants finished their tour de force with mini research projects presented at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.

Source: Lecture: Ancient Medical Industries in Cambodia and the 2017 NSC Archaeological Field School – ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

Road project threatend Philippine mummy site

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A road construction project in Philippines’ Mountain province runs uncomfortably close to some sacred mummy burial sites, sparking criticism.

Hanging coffins of Sagada. Source: Inquirer 20160627

Hanging coffins of Sagada. Source: Inquirer 20160627

Sacred mummy cave in Sagada threatened by DPWH-DOT road project
The Inquirer, 27 June 2016

A government road-widening project in Sagada, Mountain Province is threatening the integrity of an ancient mummy burial cave in Ambasing Village.

The road-widening is part of the “convergence project” of the Department of Public Works (DPWH) and Department of Tourism (DOT) designed to ease traffic to and from the picturesque Mountain Province municipality.

The convergence project has irked residents who have criticized the local and national governments for their reckless disregard of environmental, heritage, and even sensitive cultural-religious concerns caused by public works in aid of tourism profits.

Full story here.

Categories: Philippines

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Communication across Mainland Southeast Asia: The Living Angkor Road

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Angkorian Road Network. Source: CSEAS Newsletter Spring 2015

Archaeologists Im Sokrithy and Surat Lertlum from Cambodia and Thailand respectively write about their long-running project on the Living Angkor Road in the latest issue of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Kyoto University.

Angkorian Road Network. Source: CSEAS Newsletter Spring 2015

Angkorian Road Network. Source: CSEAS Newsletter Spring 2015

The Living Angkor Road Project: Connectivity within Ancient Mainland Southeast Asia
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Spring 2015

A Khmer-Thai Collaboration research project named the “Living Angkor Road Project” (LARP) has been
supported by the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA). LARP is a cross-border multi-disciplinary research aimed at firstly, identifying all the remaining portions of ancient roads radiating from the Angkor capital to different provinces of the ancient Khmer empire, in view of an overall mapping of the network known to date. Secondly, it aims to identify and describe all the infrastructures existing along these roads: bridges, all kinds of canals, temples, the remains of rest-houses and hospitals.

Download the newsletter here.

Siam Society Lecture: Ancient Jewellery of Myanmar from Prehistory to Pyu Period

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Another lecture at the Siam Society, featuring the ancient jewelry of Myanmar.

1506Jewellery1

Ancient Jewellery of Myanmar from Prehistory to Pyu Period
by Terence Tan
Venue: The Siam Society, Bangkok, Thailand
Date: 4 June 2015
Time: 7.30pm

This book traces the ornaments and artefacts, which brought about the changes in beliefs, rituals, social and cultural aspects of early Myanmar, from the prehistoric to the proto-historical period, and cultural links between China and Myanmar. Links between China and Myanmar are corroborated by bronze artefacts and stone beads from the Samon River Valley, the Bronze-Iron Transition culture that flourished c. 700 BCE-100 CE. Beads from the Samon are linked to the Western Zhou Dynasty of China (11th-8th century BCE). The tiger with cub in the mouth is an iconic artefact from this period. Although the Samon figurines are of different material, due to the wider availability of semi-precious stones in Myanmar, they bear stylistic affinities with the Chinese version.

Gradual changes in the Samon River Valley culture led to the Pyu Era (200 BCE-900 CE), a contemporary of Dvaravati (Thailand), Champa (Vietnam) and Funan (Cambodia). The Pyu were thus a bridge between the Bronze-Iron Transition Age and Myanmar’s early Buddhist period, one of the earliest Buddhist cultures of Southeast Asia. In addition to ancient ramparts and a few inscriptions, there is a wealth of excavated material, from Buddha effigies to golden plates, jewellery, coins and other moveable artefacts. This transition to the Buddhist period shifts the focus from China to India and links with the crossroads of East Asia, visible in the Pyu’s gold dice beads decorated with auspicious symbols and the main events in the Buddha’s life.

Public Lecture: The Khmer Empire and its Road Network

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Cambodian archaeologist Ea Darith will be giving a presentation in Singapore next month. Readers in Singapore may want to check it out.

Update: The lecture is now in Youtube. You can view it here.

The Khmer Empire and its Road Network
Date: 12 February 2015
Time: 3.00 – 4.30 pm
Venue: Seminar Room 2, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

From the 9th to 15th century, the Khmer Empire ruled over a large area of Mainland Southeast Asia, which was bordered by China to the north; the Malay Peninsula to the south; the Mon state to the west; and Champa and Daiviet to the east. The empire’s capital was located in the Angkor area and consisted of a concentrated series of monumental structures. These included a large capital city complex which encompassed a 3×3 km area (now called Angkor Thom), and the state temple of Angkor Wat—the largest Hindu temple in the world to date. The Angkor complex also consisted of huge eastern and western water reservoirs, canal systems, hundreds of other smaller temples, as well as a road network from the Angkor capital to other provinces within its domain.

In order to solidify control over this vast area, the rulers of Angkor constructed many roads that connected the Angkor capital to its former capitals as well as new conquered territories. There were two roads to the east and northeast of Angkor which connected to the former capital cities of Sambor Prei Kuk, Kok Ker, and Wat Phu. To the west and northwest, there were two roads that had connections to Phimai, Sdok Kak Thom, and probably Lopburi. The late 12th century Preah Khan temple inscription tells us that there are 121 rest houses and 102 hospitals located along these roads and provincial cities. The inscriptions also clearly mentioned 17 rest houses along the 245-km-road from Angkor to Phimai, which was considered the northwestern region.

The Living Angkor Road Project (LARP), a Cambodian–Thai joint research project, has been conducting research along the said road since 2005. The team has already identified 32 ancient bridges, 385 water structures, 134 temples, 17 rest houses, 8 hospitals, a number of iron smelting sites, hundreds of stoneware ceramic kilns, and many habitation sites.

Registration details here.