[New Paper] Potent Places in Central Vietnam: ‘Everything that Comes Out of the Earth is Cham’

New paper in the Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology by Anne-Valérie Schweyer:

Set apart from the so-called ‘Hinduisation’ process, the Cham country is characterised by the presence of many sites or shrines dedicated to local deities. This paper—based on the analysis of archaeological and anthropological evidence—aims to identify these cults, to clarify the associated practices and to demonstrate how the local cults map out the entire local geography. Moreover, in central Vietnam, it is possible to precisely examine ‘potent places’ in order to achieve a better understanding of the local cults and the persistence of those cults from antiquity to the present. In ancient times, each local deity was connected to a political power, which ‘exhaled’ it and, at the same time, put a mark on the territory. The diversity of potent places allows a better understanding of puzzling territories. The continuity of ritual practices performed at Cham potent places, centuries after the disappearance of any form of Cham political power, shows the link between the first occupants of the land and the following Viet inhabitants.

Source: Potent Places in Central Vietnam: ‘Everything that Comes Out of the Earth is Cham’
https://doi.org/10.1080/14442213.2017.1370478

Travel feature on the My Son Sanctuary

Viet Nam Net’s feature on the My Son Sanctuary in Central Vietnam. There are plenty of photos in the news article.

The My Son Sanctuary. Source: Viet Nam Net 20150502
The My Son Sanctuary. Source: Viet Nam Net 20150502

Mysterious beauty of the oldest sanctuary in Vietnam
Viet Nam Net, 02 May 2015

Over time, the My Son Sanctuary has acquired an ancient, mysterious beauty, attracting many domestic and foreign tourists.

The My Son Sanctuary is located in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, of Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. It is 70 km from Da Nang City and 40 km from Hoi An. This is a Hindu holy place of the ancient Kingdom of Champa.

According to traditional rituals, whenever a king came to the throne, they had to go to My Son Holy to make rites, offer gifts and build temples.

This area was discovered in 1885 by a group of French soldiers. Ten years later (1895), archaeologist Camille Paris made the first exploration. Since then until 1904, many researchers and archaeologists have visited here to reveal the secrets, including Louis Finot, Henri Parmentier and others.

My Son Sanctuary is located in a valley of about 2 km in diameter, surrounded by hills and mountains. It consists of 70 towers, which are divided into several clusters and built according to the same principle.

Full story here.

Cham kiln site discovered in Vietnam

Traces of a 13th century Cham kilm workshop have been found in Vietnam’s Binh Dinh province.

13th-century valuable objects unearthed in central site
Viet Nam News, 23 January 2015

Scientists have unearthed traces of Cham ceramic workshops dating back to the 13th century in the central province of Binh Dinh’s Nhon Loc Commune.

They found fairly intact ceramic ovens and nearly 1,000 ceramic objects including bowls, plates, jars and tiles over a 100sq.m area. Traces of ruined ceramic ovens were found at another 50sq.m site.

Full story here.

Recent finds from Binh Thuan Province

The director of the Binh Thuan Province Museum in Vietnam talks about their recent archaeological finds from the Champa period.

Po Tam Tower in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam Net 20121213
Po Tam Tower in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam Net 20121213

Relics unravel Cham history
Vietnam Net, 13 December 2012
Continue reading “Recent finds from Binh Thuan Province”

India pledges $3 million to preserve the My Son Sanctuary

The Indian Government announced a project by the Archaeological Survey of India to help preserve the My Son Sanctuary.

My Son Sanctuary, Tuoi Tre News 20120622
My Son Sanctuary, Tuoi Tre News 20120622

India helps to restore My Son heritage site
Tupi Tre News, 22 June 2012
Continue reading “India pledges $3 million to preserve the My Son Sanctuary”

Linkdump: Last month’s archaeology news

Finally, I’m back! I’ll write a short post later about what I’ve been up to in the field (unless you’re my facebook friend already and seen all the pictures already!). After about six weeks away from the blog, I’ve been spending the last week just processing and backing up the data from my trip and sifting through the news feeds for stories I’ve missed. Here’s a roundup of stories for the time while I was away:

Cambodia

Indonesia

  • Jakarta Post, 24 May 2012: The tomb of a South Sulawesi king, Sultan Hasanuddin, is found desecrated.
  • Jakarta Globe, 31 May 2012: A minister for Education and Culture raised awareness of the “pitiful” state of some of the country’s museums.

Malaysia

  • Mizzima, 27 April 2012: Italy and Myanmar to cooperate in the preservation of Bagan and Pyu sites. [Link no longer active]
  • New Straits Times, 10 May 2012: A feature on the prehistoric and other archaeological features of Perak. [Link no longer active]
  • Bernama, 04 June 2012: Archaeologists announce that the Sungei Batu site in Kedah may be one of the oldest civilizations in the surrounding region.
  • Borneo Post, 06 June 2012: The Ministry of Information and Culture announces their intention to rewrite the Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals or Geneaology of Malay Kings) into modern prose for increased accessibility

Myanmar

  • Myanmar Times, 30 April – 6 May 2012: Three Pyu sites will be proposed for inclusion into the World Heritage List by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
  • The Straits Times (via Jakarta Globe), 24 May 2012: A feature on historian Thant Myint U and the Rangoon Heritage Trust.
  • Myanmar Times, 04-10 June 2012: A recent conference on conservation strategy stressed the need for a conservation plan for the colonial-era buildings of Yangon.

Philippines

  • AFP, via Channel NewsAsia, 30 April 2012: As many as 50 of Philippines’ indigenous languages may become extinct in the next 20 years.
  • Philippine Information Agency, 02 May 2012: The World Heritage Committee issues a set of guidelines for the management of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.
  • The Philippne Star, 08 May 2012: A proposal to declare the Ille Cave in Palawan a heritage park. (See also here).
  • Philippine Information Agency, 28 May 2012: Archaeologists arrive in Butuan to resume excavations of a Balangay boat.
  • Inquirer, 29 May 2012: A speculation of whether World War II artefacts were unearthed during a public works project and illegally sold.
  • Minda News, 30 May 2012: Excavations of the 4th Balangay boat begins in Butuan.
  • Philippine Information Agency, 31 May 2012: The Ifugao Archaeological Project Field School opens. (You can read their ongoing exploits on the Field School blog here.)
  • Philippine Information Agency, 04 June 2012: National Museum Archaeologists working to excavate another Balangay Boat in Butuan have reported that they are 1/3 of the way complete.

Singapore

  • via the NSC Archaeology Unit, 09 May 2012: For those who missed it, Prof. John Miksic’s talk on Guerilla Archaeology in Singapore is now online here.

Sri Lanka

  • Daily News, 10 May 2012: Sri Lanka authorities report a steep rise in the theft and looting of sites.

Taiwan

Thailand

Vietnam

  • Viet Nam News, 07 May 2012: An update on the deteriorating Champa structures in Quang Nam Province. [Link no longer active]
  • Saigon Giai Phong, 09 May 2012: The Ho Citadel receives the title of World Cultural Heritage Site.
  • Vietnam Net Bridge, 13 May 2012: A feature on a priest at Ho Chi Minh City and his collection of lamps and books.
  • Vietnam News, 15 May 2012: A feature on the problems of improper restoration and conservation efforts in Vietnam. [Link no longer active]
  • Vietnam Net Bridge, 17 May 2012: A set of 14th century Buddhist woodblocks have been recognised as Unesco World Heritage.
  • Vietnam Net Bridge, 19 May 2012: An exhibition on Vietnam’s Maritime Cultural Heritage opens in Hanoi. [Link no longer active]
  • Viet Nam News, 22 May 2012: Archaeologist discover the remains of a water buffalo at the Nam Giao altar site. [Link no longer active]
  • Viet Nam News, 30 May 2012: Pre-1945 documents pertaining to the World Heritage Ho Citadel in Thanh Hoa Province are on display at the province library. [Link no longer active]
  • Viet Nam News, 30 May 2012: The Ta Vu Pavilion in the historic city of Hue will be restored later this year with the help of German conservationists. [Link no longer active]
  • Vietnam Net Bridge, 03 June 2012: A feature on the centuries old practice of ancestor worship, the Festival of the Hung Kings. [Link no longer active]
  • Viet Nam News, 05 June 2012: Archaeologist raise awareness for the need to better preserve the Nam Giao Altar site against landslides, especially in the upcoming rainy season. [Link no longer active]

My Son Sanctuary facing pressure from increased visitor numbers

In the last 12 years visitors to the My Son Sanctuary have increased tenfold, adding a tremendous strain from the increased tourist numbers. The pressure is compounded by the fact that most tourists only visit the site in the morning, concentrating the rate of deterioration. I visited the My Son Sanctuary last year, and you can read about it here.

The My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam Province, Vietnamnet 20120309
The My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam Province, Vietnamnet 20120309

Pressure on My Son holy land
VietnamNet, 09 March 2012
Continue reading “My Son Sanctuary facing pressure from increased visitor numbers”

7 Lectures from iTunes U on Southeast Asian Archaeology

Last week, Apple announced a revamped iBooks and iTunes U service aimed at bringing textbooks and course materials to the iPad. There’s a fair buzz in the education circles, but how much content is there relating to the archaeology of Southeast Asia?


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Museum of Cham Sculpture

One of the more established tourist attractions in Da Nang is the Museum of Cham Sculpture at the corner of Trung Nu Vuong and 2 Thang 9 Streets. Almost a hundred years old, it houses a large sculpture collection from the Champa sites in the region (those that haven’t been looted or on display at some other faraway museum, that is).

Museum of Cham Sculpture, Da Nang
Museum of Cham Sculpture, Da Nang

Continue reading “Museum of Cham Sculpture”