A feature on the Banh It Towers in Vietnam’s Binh Dinh Province.
Banh It Cham Towers, Vietnam Net Bridge 20120612
Evidence of time and Cham culture at Banh It towers
Vietnam Net Bridge, 12 June 2012
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:
- Phnom Penh Post, 30 April 2012: A brief firefight at Preah Vihear leaves one Cambodian soldier shot.
- Science Codex, 09 May 2012: The discovery of a previously-unknown people living in the Cardamom mountains, contemporary to Angkor and evidenced by jar burials is announced.
- The Times Live, 10 May 2012: Another story on the jar burial culture in the Cardamom mountains. [Link no longer active]
- TR Weekly, 11 May 2012: Siem Reap sees a dramatic 45% increase in visitors during the first quarter of 2012. [Link no longer active]
- DVXUser, 14 May 2012: Oh Angkor! is a minidocumentary by Gunther Machu using the quotes of historical travellers to the ancient city.
- Phnom Penh Post, 25 May 2012: A rare piece that is not about Angkor – the Phnom Penh Municipality purchases a war relic found in the Mekong: a wing of a Cambodian aircraft from the 1960s.
- New York Times, 01 June 2012: Cambodia is seeking the return of two statues from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- CNN.com, 07 June 2012: This editorial asks if Cambodian ‘blood antiquities’ should be returned.
- 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.
- 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 [Link no longer active]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 [Link no longer active]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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Daily News, 10 May 2012: Sri Lanka authorities report a steep rise in the theft and looting of sites.
- 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]
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
Pressure on My Son holy land
VietnamNet, 09 March 2012
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?
On the way to My Son from Da Nang is the town of Tra Kieu, known during Champa times as Simhapura (‘Lion City’). It is thought that Simhapura was a political capital for Champa, while My Son was a spiritual capital of sorts. I was searching for the archaeological remains of Simhapura – reportedly the rectangular remains of a stone building or ramparts – but was unsuccessful. Nobody seemed to know where it was. But I did stumble upon this:
Museum of Sa Huynh and Champa Culture
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
For the year-end holidays, I had the chance to spend some time in central Vietnam via Da Nang, one of the largest cities in the country. Da Nang is a good gateway to three World Heritage Sites, all within reach of a day trip: the imperial capital of Hue to the north, the ancient city of Hoi An to the south, and the ruins of My Son, which is further inland, about an hourâ€™s drive from Da Nang.
My Son Sanctuary Group B,C,D
A 1,600 year old kendi (spouted vessel) was recovered from a river in Hue in central Vietnam.
Cham Kendi recovered from Hue, Tuoi Tre News 20111112
Hue found 1,600-year-old Cham vase
Tuoi Tre News, 12 November 2011
The Vietnamese government has sought the Archaeological Survey of India to help restore the My Son Sanctuary.
photo credit: davethetemp
Vietnam seeks ASI help in restoring ancient temples
MSN India News, 06 November 2011
India funds restoration of My Son sanctuary
Saigon Giai Phong, 08 November 2011
The Dong Duong Buddhist College, a 9th century Champa ruin is to be restored and rebuilt.
The Sang Tower of the Dong Duong Buddhist College. Viet Nam News, 20110819
Buddhist college to be rejuvenated
Viet Nam News, 19 August 2011