The Guardian, 05 June 2017:
One of Australia’s most treasured second world war warships has been illegally salvaged for metal, devastating the war grave of more than 300 sailors, maritime archaeologists say.
An Australian-Indonesian expedition conducted a dive on the wreck of HMAS Perth, which sank in 1942 following a fierce battle against the Japanese navy off the north-west tip of Java.
Kevin Sumption, the director of the Australian National Maritime Museum, said: “It is with profound regret we advise that our joint maritime archaeologist diving team has discovered sections of the Perth missing. Interim reports indicate only approximately 40% of the vessel remaining.
Source: Sunken Australian warship HMAS Perth ransacked by illegal scavengers | Australia news | The Guardian
The Patriots, 03 June 2017: An article about the Punjulharjo ancient boat site, which was discovered in central Java in 2008. The author expresses hope that a similar boat which is thought to be in Malaysia’s Sungei Batu can be found. Article is in Bahasa Indonesia.
Source: Situs Perahu Kuno Punjulharjo, Gambaran Awal Kapal Kuno Sungai Batu | The Patriots
From Select Books: A new book on the Belitung Shipwreck and its cargo which is now largely held and displayed in Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum.
Tang Shipwreck, The: Art And Exchange In The 9th Century
This book tells the story and presents the objects found on the Tang Shipwreck, discovered off Belitung Island in Indonesia in 1998, and now housed at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. It is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of recent times. Found at the site was a remarkable cargo of some 60,000 Chinese ceramics dating from the Tang dynasty (618-907), along with finely wrought gold and silver objects, bronze mirrors, and more ordinary objects belonging to the crew. The ten essays in this profusely illustrated volume discuss the ceramics and other commodities on board, the ship’s construction and possible origin, China’s maritime trade in the Tang period, Chinese ceramic production, ports of call in Asia and Southeast Asia, and life on board the ship.
Source: Tang Shipwreck, The: Art And Exchange In The 9Th Century (Select Books: The Asian Book Specialist – Bookseller, Publisher and Distributor)
Job posting by Unesco Jakarta. Closing date is 5 June 2017.
Under the overall supervision of the Director of UNESCO Office, Jakarta, and under the direct supervision of the Head of the Culture Unit, the incumbent shall serve as Administrative and Project Assistant for Culture Unit, UNESCO Office Jakarta, cluster Office for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste.
Source: Administrative and Project Assistant for Culture | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
TTG Asia, 19 May 2017: The travel industry in Indonesia is complaining of an ‘unannounced’ price hike for admission to Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko temples.
Source: Lack of clarity on Borobudur temple fee hike ruffles agents’ feathers – TTG Asia – Leader in Hotel, Airlines, Tourism and Travel Trade News
Antiques and the Arts Weekly, 09 May 2017
In “Secrets of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia,” running through June 4 at the Asia Society Museum, 78 choice artifacts conjure trade on the flourishing maritime silk route that extended from the Abbasid caliphate to the Tang empire in the Ninth Century. As it turns out, active trading had been underway centuries before the Portuguese had arrived in search of goods and spices.
Curator Adrianna Proser hopes visitors will find the show intriguing, not only for its treasures but for its exploration “of the level of activity and exchange and trade that was crossing a large segment of the world so much earlier than people realized.”
Source: Secrets Of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck & Early Trade In Asia
The Maritime Executive, 08 May 2017: The Malaysian and Indonesian authorities have detained the MV Chuan Hong 68 and her crew, a vessel which is believed to be illegally looting shipwrecks (including war graves) in Indonesian and Malaysian waters.
MV Chuan Hong
Somebody has been stealing warships from Southeast Asian waters – more specifically, sunken warships, which are prized for their scrap metal value. Indonesian authorities now believe that they have caught one of the perpetrators: they allege that the 8,000 gt Chinese grab dredger Chuan Hong 68 was responsible for illegally scavenging the wrecks of the pre-WWII Japanese destroyer Sagiri, plus the passenger vessels Hiyoshi Maru and Katori Maru, the steamship Igara and the tanker Seven Skies.
It is the second time that maritime authorities have caught the Chuan Hong 68 in as many months. On April 20, the Indonesian Navy detained her in the waters off Natuna in the Riau Islands on the suspicion that she was engaged in illegal dredging. She escaped on April 22 and fled to Malaysia, where she was detained once again by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
Source: Indonesia Captures Maritime Grave Robbers
Indonesia seeks Interpol’s help to find dredger (Straits Times, 23 April 2017)
The Thieves Who Steal Sunken Warships, Right Down to the Bolts (Outside Online, 02 May 2017)
Indonesia Detains Chinese-flagged Dredger for Looting Sunken Treasure (Netral, 07 May 2017)
For readers in Bangkok, there will be a a couple of talks at the Siam Society on the archaeology and urban conservation of Jakarta. The speakers are Annissa M. Gultom (Archaeology) and Bambang Eryudhawan (Urban Conservation). Admission is free. (Disclosure: I am personally involved in organising this event as part of my work at SEAMEO SPAFA).
SEAMEO SPAFA in cooperation with The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage Present
Jakarta: Past and Present
The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO SPAFA) and the Siam Society will organize two lectures on the archaeology and urban conservation of Jakarta, as part of SEAMEO SPAFA’s lecture series on the archaeology of the Capitals of Southeast Asia. The first set of lectures, focusing on Jakarta, will be delivered on Tuesday 23rd May 2017 at 18.30-20.30 hrs. at the Siam Society. The event is free of charge.
Jakarta Globe, 03 May 2017
National Gallery of Indonesia holds a rock art exhibition called “Wimba Kala” at the National Gallery of Indonesia in Central Jakarta until May 15.
Source: National Gallery Exhibition Reinterprets Indonesia’s Rock Art | Jakarta Globe
This newly published paper by ANUs Debbie Argue has been making the news recently. A new analysis of the bones puts Homo floresiensis closer in time to Homo habilis than it does Homo erectus or Homo Sapiens, which suggests the the Hobbit’s lineage was more ancient than recent.
Although the diminutive Homo floresiensis has been known for a decade, its phylogenetic status remains highly contentious. A broad range of potential explanations for the evolution of this species has been explored. One view is that H. floresiensis is derived from Asian Homo erectus that arrived on Flores and subsequently evolved a smaller body size, perhaps to survive the constrained resources they faced in a new island environment. Fossil remains of H. erectus, well known from Java, have not yet been discovered on Flores. The second hypothesis is that H. floresiensis is directly descended from an early Homo lineage with roots in Africa, such as Homo habilis; the third is that it is Homo sapiens with pathology. We use parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic methods to test these hypotheses. Our phylogenetic data build upon those characters previously presented in support of these hypotheses by broadening the range of traits to include the crania, mandibles, dentition, and postcrania of Homo and Australopithecus. The new data and analyses support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis is an early Homo lineage: H. floresiensis is sister either to H. habilis alone or to a clade consisting of at least H. habilis, H. erectus, Homo ergaster, and H. sapiens. A close phylogenetic relationship between H. floresiensis and H. erectus or H. sapiens can be rejected; furthermore, most of the traits separating H. floresiensis from H. sapiens are not readily attributable to pathology (e.g., Down syndrome). The results suggest H. floresiensis is a long-surviving relict of an early (>1.75 Ma) hominin lineage and a hitherto unknown migration out of Africa, and not a recent derivative of either H. erectus or H. sapiens.
Source: The affinities of Homo floresiensis based on phylogenetic analyses of cranial, dental, and postcranial characters
- Origins of Indonesian Hobbits finally revealed (Science Daily, 21 April 2017)
- ‘Hobbit’ species did not evolve from ancestor of modern humans, research finds (The Guardian, 21 April 2017)
- Study shows Indonesian “hobbits” came from Africa (Xinhua, 21 April 2017)
- Hobbit jawbone study redraws the human family tree (Cosmos, 21 April 2017)
- Real-life ‘hobbits’ could be one of the earliest forms of human, say scientists (Indepedent, 21 April 2017)
- Origins of Indonesia’s Flores ‘hobbits’ most likely in Africa and not from ‘Java man’, study claims (Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2017
- Mystery human hobbit ancestor may have been first out of Africa (New Scientist, 21 April 2017)
- New theory provides insight on Indonesian ‘hobbits’ (AOL News, 21 April 2017)
- Indonesian hobbit evolved from African ancestor (UPI, 21 April 2017)
- Hobbits really do exist – and it’s now been revealed where they come from (The Mirror, 21 April 2017)
- Hobbit Bones Reveal Evolution Of Ancient Human Species (International Business Times, 21 April 2017)
- Scientists in shock human ‘hobbit’ discovery announcement (Daily Star, 21 April 2017)
- Flores Man ‘hobbits’ found in Indonesia were NOT direct relatives of modern humans, scientists confirm (The Sun, 22 April 2017)
- Indonesian ‘Hobbit’ Not Related To Modern Humans’ Ancestor But Instead Has African Origins: Scientists (Tech Times, 22 April 2017)
- Origins of ‘hobbit’ species discovered (CBC News, 22 April 2017)
- The hobbits were not humans, says new study (Telangana Today, 22 April 2017)
- Indonesia’s ‘Hobbits’ Are Far Older Relatives Than We Originally Thought (Science Alert, 22 April 2017)
- ANU researchers discount theory Indonesian hobbits evolved from Homo erectus (ABC News, 22 April 2017)
- We’re Not Close: Indonesia’s Human-Like ‘Hobbit’ Skeletons Aren’t Our Ancestors (Sputnik News, 22 April 2017)
- Scientists debunk theory that hobbits were man’s cousin (International Business Times, 22 April 2017)
- Study reveals origins of Indonesian ‘hobbits’ (Z News, 22 April 2017)