The race to save up to 50 shipwrecks from looters in Southeast Asia

via The Conversation, 16 November 2017:

More than 48 shipwrecks have been illicitly salvaged – and the figure may be much higher. Museums can play a key role in the protection of these wrecks, alongside strategic recovery and legislative steps.

Source: The race to save up to 50 shipwrecks from looters in Southeast Asia

Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth

via NHK World, 07 November 2017: An interesting video story from NHK World about the underwater salvagers who operate in the Chao Phraya River that cuts through Bangkok.

Running through central Bangkok is the Chao Phraya River. On it is the city’s largest floating village, Mittakham. About 300 people live there. The community is estimated to be about 100 years old.

A development project means the community is scheduled to be torn down. Its residents are being forced to move from the river that’s given them their livelihoods for generations.

One of them is 53-year-old Jamroen Bua-Sri. Every day, he puts on a steel helmet and goes into the river to hunt for antiques and other treasures. He’s one of about 40 such divers. The river was a crucial trade route linking the ancient capital of Ayutthaya to China and other Asian countries, so it’s surprising what can turn up.

“My grandfather was a fisherman. One day, he found something in the river, and there were people who paid for it. So he began to search for lost treasures in the river,” says Jamroen. He has salvaged more than 10,000 items. He says this is an amulet from the early Ayutthaya Kingdom period that ended in the mid-1700s. Some artifacts retrieved by the divers have even gone into national museum collections.

Source: Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth – Editor’s Picks – News – NHK WORLD – English

Massive grave robbing in Southeast Asian seas

via The Guardian, 03 November 2017: 40 shipwrecks, mostly war graves, in Southeast Asian waters have been found to be illegally scavenged at unprecedented rates.

Dozens of warships believed to contain the remains of thousands of British, American, Australian, Dutch and Japanese servicemen from the second world war have been illegally ripped apart by salvage divers, the Guardian can reveal.

An analysis of ships discovered by wreck divers and naval historians has found that up to 40 second world war-era vessels have already been partially or completely destroyed. Their hulls might have contained the corpses of 4,500 crew.

Governments fear other unmarked graves are at risk of being desecrated. Hundreds more ships – mostly Japanese vessels that could contain the war graves of tens of thousands of crew killed during the war – remain on the seabed.

Source: The world’s biggest grave robbery: Asia’s disappearing WWII shipwrecks – The Guardian

Underwater archaeology in Papua

via CNN Indonesia, 18 October 2017:

Pulau Papua dikelilingi oleh perairan yang luas, dan memiliki tinggalan arkeologi bawah air. Selama ini di Papua belum pernah dilakukan penelitian arkeologi bawah air, hal ini disebabkan oleh keterbatasan peralatan dan sumberdaya manusia.

Berbeda dengan penelitian arkeologi di daratan, penelitian arkeologi bawah air membutuhkan dana lebih besar untuk membeli peralatan, akses ke lokasi, serta tingkat kesulitan tinggi untuk penelitian arkeologi bawah air.

Papua memiliki potensi tinggalan arkeologi bawah air di antaranya kapal perang maupun pesawat terbang peninggalan Perang Pasifik terdapat di perairan Papua dan Papua Barat. Kapal peninggalan Perang Pasifik milik Amerika, The Junkyard terdapat di perairan Pulau Amsterdam. Pesawat tempur Zero di perairan Pulau Rippon, Wandamen. Pesawat Amerika P47-D Razorback di Pulau Wai, Raja Ampat.

Source: Mengintip Kekayaan Arkeologis Bawah Air di Papua

Hoi An Field School Call for Expressions of Interest

VMAP, in association with the Institute of Archaeology (Vietnam) and Flinders University, will conduct a two week terrestrial and maritime-based maritime archaeology field school in Jan/Feb 2018. Fieldwork will take place in the World Heritage Areas at Hue and Hoi An and the Marine Protected Area at Cu Lao Cham and will include a visit to the World Heritage Area at My Son. Accommodation will be at the Bach Dang Hotel in Hoi An.

Dates
Sat 26 / Sun 27 January to Sat 10 / Sun 11 Feb 2018. Dates are fixed.

Activities

1. Marine geophysics training and usage project (boat-based, non-diving)
– Side-scan sonar, magnetometer and ROV training and use at Cu Lao Cham.
2. SCUBA Diving project (boat-based, SCUBA diving)
Recording on the shipwreck site at Bai Ong and diving on targets found using maritime geophysics equipment
3. Cannon recording project in Hue (terrestrial, non-diving)
– 3D modeling, drawing, photography and cataloguing of the Dutch shipwreck cannons located in Hue.
4. Traditional boat building recording project (terrestrial, non-diving)
– 3D modeling, drawing, photography and cataloguing of traditional style Bau boats built by the master boat builders of Kim Bong village near Hoi An.

SCUBA diving certification is not required.

Language of instruction: English

Requirements:

Masters students at Flinders University may be eligible for funding of $2,000 under the Asia Postgraduate Programme scheme (conditions apply). Students at other universities should contact Mark Polzer for further information Mark.Polzer@flinders.edu.au

All participants will be expected to arrange and pay for their visa for Vietnam as well as travel insurance and their own airfares to and from Da Nang in Vietnam (Approximate cost AUD$800).

Participant Fee: US$1,000, AUD$ 1,200 or 800 Euros. This fee will be used to cover on-the-ground expenses such as ground transportation, food and accommodation as well as making a contribution towards the fieldwork costs.

Potential participants should send an email expression of interest that includes the following information: Name, email address, a photocopy of the information page of your passport and a brief (half page) cv or biography to:
Mark.staniforth@flinders.edu.au

For more information contact: Mark.staniforth@flinders.edu.au

UNESCO and ASEAN joint forces to strengthen the protection of underwater heritage in the Southeast Asian region

via Unesco, 21 September 2017: I was in Makassar last week to attend this meeting organised by Unesco and ASEAN. On the agenda was the 2001 convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage (of which only Cambodia is signatory to).

Source: UNESCO and ASEAN joint forces to strengthen the protection of underwater heritage in the Southeast Asian region | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Interview with a Thai underwater archaeologist

via BBC The Conversation, 21 July 2017: An interview with Thai underwater archaeologist Pornnatcha Sankhaprasit and the perils on being the only female on board.

The unexpected problems of diving with the guys

Source: BBC World Service – The Conversation, Diving into the Past, My swimsuit dilemma

Sunken Australian warship HMAS Perth ransacked by illegal scavengers

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 Punjulharjo ancient boat site

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

Tang Shipwreck, The: Art And Exchange In The 9th Century

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)