UNESCO World Heritage Centre – UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes

The Maritime Silk Route would naturally include many Southeast Asian stops.

UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes

There has been much discussion about possible strategies for the nominations on the UNESCO World Heritage List of the impact of maritime trade on the cultures and civilizations between East and West often referred to as the ‘Maritime Silk Routes’. The aim of this UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes, which will be held on 30-31 May 2017 in London, is to bring together scholars who have worked on the history, archaeology, and heritage of maritime interactions across this vast area in order to discuss the strategy for further research, as well as the development of a platform to enter into a possible dialogue with the States Parties of the World Heritage Convention along the Maritime Silk Routes.

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre – UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes

Art on the Rocks – Discussing the future of rock art from Namibia

Last week I was in Namibia attending a colloquium on rock art organized by the Getty Conservation Institute. The aim of the colloquium was to share thoughts, ideas and solutions about rock art management, conservation and public engagement with perspectives from around the world, and it was a continuation of earlier discussions which began in Southern Africa and Australia (you can download the papers and results of the earlier colloquiums here).

Dancing Kudu from the Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site
Dancing Kudu from the Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site

The participants were a good mix of researchers, site managers, indigenous voices and artists, who each shared unique perspectives and case studies ranging from rock art films, community engagement projects, fund raising. For my presentation, I shared examples of rock art site protection from Southeast Asia, including bits of earlier research on how religious shrines form around rock art sites; the use of social media to engage the public (such as by reading this site, or following this blog on Facebook and Twitter) and highlighted the ongoing Gua Tambun Heritage Awareness Project run by the team at Universiti Sains Malaysia (also a site I had worked on previously). While my presentation was the only one specific to SEA, there were several other participants who have worked or are working in the region as well – a reflection of the growing interest in rock art here.

Catherine Namono of the University of Witzwatersrand discussing community-led rock art management
Catherine Namono of the University of Witzwatersrand discussing community-led rock art management

We also got to visit the world heritage sites of Twyfelfontein and Brandberg, known for rock art that was created by the Bushmen of Southern Africa. The rock art sites are several thousands years old, depicting animals such as giraffes, elephants, rhino and other wildlife. The rock art at Brandberg was mostly paintings, while at Twyfelfontein the rock art was predominantly petroglyphs (carvings) and it was interesting to see the contrast and also the number of sites.

Visiting the White Lady rock art site in Brandberg
Visiting the White Lady rock art site in Brandberg
The White Lady
The iconic ‘White Lady, which was discovered about 100 years ago – it isn’t actually a lady but a male shaman figure!
Twyfelfontein Lion Carving
The lion carving is the icon of the Twyfelfontein site, and is thought to be a depiction of a shaman because of the human hands depicted instead of paws
Zebra carving at Twyfelfontein
Zebra carving at Twyfelfontein
Dancing Kudu site from the air
Dancing Kudu site from the air

It was my first visit to Africa, and apart from the rock art sites there were also lots of animals to see!

Desert Elephants
Desert Elephants
Springboks
Springboks
Giraffes
Giraffes

Meetings like these are very useful to keep up to date with international trends, and also challenge one’s self with new perspectives. Australia and South Africa had clear leadership roles in the area of rock art management due to the number of sites in their region and also issues and experience in dealing with indigenous communities and having multiple research projects focused on rock art; in contrast, there aren’t many dedicated rock art scholars in this region, rock art management here depends largely on state intervention and in most cases Southeast Asian rock art has no ancestral connection to the people living in the area today. Still, I learnt a lot and will be applying some ideas to future rock art projects at my day job in SPAFA.

Dronie from the Brandberg White Lady site
Dronie from the Brandberg White Lady site

Many thanks to the Getty Conservation Institute for the opportunity to participate in this rock art colloquium, and in particular Neville Agnew, Nicholas Hall and Paul Taçon. There should be a publication from this meeting out hopefully by the end of the year, and I’ll post news about it when it comes out.

[Book] New Perspectives in Southeast Asian and Pacific Prehistory (Terra Australis 45)

A new book from ANU Press – the ebook is free!

‘This volume brings together a diversity of international scholars, unified in the theme of expanding scientific knowledge about humanity’s past in the Asia-Pacific region. The contents in total encompass a deep time range, concerning the origins and dispersals of anatomically modern humans, the lifestyles of Pleistocene and early Holocene Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, the emergence of Neolithic farming communities, and the development of Iron Age societies.

Source: New Perspectives in Southeast Asian and Pacific Prehistory (Terra Australis 45) | ANU Press

Lisa Maskell PhD Fellowships for Southeast Asians studies Humanities

The Gerda Henkel Foundation is offering full-time doctoral scholarships for African and Southeast Asian PhD candidates, particularly for programmes in Archaeology, History, Historical Islamic Studies, Art History, History of Law, Prehistory and Early History, and History of Science. A number of Southeast Asians have already been awarded the fellowship in previous years. More information can be found in the link below.

Source: Lisa Maskell Fellowships | Gerda Henkel Stiftung

[Book] Spirits and Ships: Cultural Transfers in Early Monsoon Asia

New book from ISEAS press

This volume seeks to foreground a borderless history and geography of South, Southeast, and East Asian littoral zones that would be maritime-focused, and thereby explore the ancient connections and dynamics of interaction that favoured the encounters among the cultures found throughout the region stretching from the Indian Ocean littorals to the Western Pacific, from the early historical period to the present. Transcending the artificial boundaries of macro-regions and nation-states, and trying to bridge the arbitrary divide between (inherently cosmopolitan) high cultures (e.g. Sanskritic, Sinitic, or Islamicate) and local or indigenous cultures, this multidisciplinary volume explores the metaphor of Monsoon Asia as a vast geo-environmental area inhabited by speakers of numerous language phyla, which for millennia has formed an integrated system of littorals where crops, goods, ideas, cosmologies, and ritual practices circulated on the sea-routes governed by the seasonal monsoon winds. The collective body of work presented in the volume describes Monsoon Asia as an ideal theatre for circulatory dynamics of cultural transfer, interaction, acceptance, selection, and avoidance, and argues that, despite the rich ethnic, linguistic and sociocultural diversity, a shared pattern of values, norms, and cultural models is discernible throughout the region.

Source: Spirits and Ships: Cultural Transfers in Early Monsoon Asia | bookshop.iseas.edu.sg

The British Library is looking for a new Head of Asian and African Collections

Application deadline: 30 March 2017

Head of Asian and African Collections

This opportunity is compelling and without rival. It is a strategic leadership post where you will have the opportunity to work with fascinating collections of pre-eminent national and international importance, ranging widely in format in intellectual content, and spanning some 3000 years.

Source: Head of Asian and African Collections job with Sue Hill Recruitment | Guardian Jobs

First Contact: Impact of Pleistocene Hominins on Island Ecosystems Conference

Readers in Australia may be interested in this free conference in Canberra on Pleistocene Hominins in Island Ecosystems – Southeast Asia is well represented.

Date: April 26 2017
Venue: Australian National University, ANU Commons Function Centre
Info: Contact Juliet Meyer, juliet.meyer@anu.edu.au

Islands represent unique ecosystems which are highly vulnerable to environmental disturbances, invasions, and natural disasters. Evidence of Pleistocene hominins on islands, however, is rare and largely restricted to a few islands in East and Southeast Asia, California, and the Mediterranean. This conference day will bring together researchers from around the world, specialising on the archaeological and palaeontological records of islands, to compare chronologies of hominin arrival, available technologies, ecological and geological events, and the records of extinctions. It will address the fundamental question of whether island overkill is a phenomenon restricted to post-Neolithic populations, or has always been a characteristic impact of our species.

CFP: Archaeology of the Seaports of Manila Galleon and the History of Early Maritime Globalization

Conference Announcement
Calling for papers of the international conference on “Archaeology of the Seaports of Manila Galleon and the History of Early Maritime Globalization”
July 2123, 2017Amoy, Fujian, China

 

During 16-19 century, the Spanish navigators established and operated the Manila Galleon maritime route which connected eastern Asia and New Spain in the American continent. The galleons sailed via the hub seaports and trade centers of Manila in the Philippines and Acapulco in Mexico, being a prosperous route for more than 200 years. This pioneering navigation of pan-Pacific regions promoted early global maritime trade and can be regarded as a new maritime Silk Road between the East and the West.

The Manila Galleon Navigation is an interesting academic theme which had been investigated and researched by multi-disciplines as archaeology, history, anthropology, marine navigation, oceanology, and etc. in last half century. The seaport sites and shipwrecks underwater are respectively 2 important types of cultural heritage contributing to archaeological reconstruction of galleon navigation history. An international academic workshop of “Early Navigation in the Asia-Pacific Region” was carried out at Harvard University in summer of 2013. Maritime archaeologists from United States, Mexico, England, Philippine and China met to discuss the early pan-Pacific maritime trade history focusing on the perspective of shipwreck archaeology of galleons (Wu, C. editor, Early Navigation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Maritime Archaeological Perspective, Springer Press, 2016)

A further dialogue on the galleon and related history of maritime cultural interaction between the Eastern Asia and New Spain will be carried out at Amoy on July 21-23, 2017. The meeting calls for papers focusing on the newest developments in the archaeology of the Manila Galleon connecting seaports of Manila in Philippines, Acapulco and San Blas in Mexico, Hagatna in Guans, Haicheng (Amoy), Macao in China, Nagasaki in Japan. A dozen of presentations respectively on different seaports archaeological fieldworks will be welcome. We hope these archaeological discoveries on galleon seaports will open a new window for sighting and understanding the social cultural exchange on the new maritime Silk Road of pan-Pacific region in last 500 years.

 

Proposed topics:

1, New archaeological discoveries of Manila Galleon Archaeology and related seaports such as Manila in Philippines, Acapulco and San Blas in Mexico, Hagatna in Guans, Haicheng (Amoy), Macao in China, Nagasaki in Japan

2, Maritime cultural heritage of harbors, historical city architecture, maritime folklore and population of different Manila Galleon related seaports.

3, Transportation between Manila Galleon related harbors, and origin of the cargo such as the kilns of the ceramic industry.

4, Trade, merchants, business organizations and navigation, related to the Manila Galleon.

 

Conference information:

1, Time: July 21-23, 2017

2, Place: Xiamen University, Xiamen (Amoy), Fujian, China

3, Financial support: The organizer is the Center for Maritime Archaeology of Xiamen University. It will pay the authors’ air travel to and from Xiamen, accommodations and a field trip in Xiamen, during the conference if the complete submit paper is accepted by the organizers before the conference.

4, Conference contact:

Dr. Miao Liu, Associate Professor of CMAXMU, liumiao@xmu.edu.cn

Applications open: World Heritage Young Professionals Forum 2017

For eligible applicants from Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia (current member states of the World Heritage Committee)

Prior to the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee and in the framework of the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme, the Polish National Commission for UNESCO and the International Cultural Centre in Krakow are proud to hold the Heritage Youth Forum 2017 “Memory: Lost and Recovered Heritage” from the 25 June to 4 July 2017, in Warsaw, Krakow (Poland).

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre – Call for applications: World Heritage Young Professionals Forum 2017