[Lecture] Chinese Shipwrecks, Treasure Hunters and the History of Underwater Cultural Heritage Regimes

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Artefacts from the Bakau shipwreck, found at the Karimata Strait between Sumatra and Borneo. Dates to the 15th century, around the same time as Zheng He.
Artefacts from the Bakau shipwreck, found at the Karimata Strait between Sumatra and Borneo. Dates to the 15th century, around the same time as Zheng He.

Readers in Hong Kong may be interested in this talk by Prof. Steven Gallagher in Feb 22 about law and underwater cultural heritage pertaining to Chinese shipwrecks.

Date: 22 February 2019
Time: 12.30-2.00
Venue: The CUHK Graduate Law Centre, 2/F, Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Road, Central.

This seminar will consider the impact the discovery, recovery and sale of Chinese shipwrecks and their cargoes by treasure hunters has had in China and internationally on the development of policy and law intended to protect the underwater cultural heritage and in particular shipwrecks. The seminar will provide an introduction to the law intended to protect underwater cultural heritage in Hong Kong, China and internationally. The introduction will consider the history of shipwrecks and their recovery and the development of the law of salvage. The seminar will then continue with discussion of the history of wreck and the law in Hong Kong. The next part will consider the great porcelain treasures recovered from South East Asia and the effect these had on China’s domestic law and policy regarding underwater cultural heritage, and the international response. The seminar will then consider China’s recent commitment to discovery, identification and protection of underwater cultural heritage both in its own waters and globally. The seminar will conclude with comment on recent issues involving wreck recovery in South East Asia and questions on the future for policy and law affecting underwater cultural heritage and in particular wreck in the region.

Crew of Russian ship remembered 104 years after Battle of Penang

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Source: Free Malaysia Today 20181101

via Free Malaysia Today, 1 November 2018: A story about a World War I naval battle in Penang… and I believe the shipwreck is still there to this day.

Source: Free Malaysia Today 20181101

Source: Free Malaysia Today 20181101

The Battle of Penang was a brief but deadly action now largely forgotten locally but still marked by the Russians every year.

The battle was mentioned numerous times by Vladimir Putin on his 2003 presidential visit to Malaysia, and on Saturday members of the Russian diplomatic mission to Malaysia remembered the loss of 88 Russian sailors aboard the cruiser Zhemchug (Pearl) during the battle.

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, allied ships from Britain, France and Russia were in and around Penang harbour. One of these was the Russian cruiser Zhemchug, in Penang for repairs to her boilers.

Source: Crew of Russian ship remembered 104 years after Battle of Penang | Free Malaysia Today

[Lecture] Treasures of the Deep: Maritime Archaeology in Hong Kong, China and Asia-Pacific

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The Chinese University of Hong kong by e X p o s e / Shutterstock

Readers in Hong Kong may be interested in this talk by Bill Jeffery on maritime archaeology in Hong Kong and Asia-Pacific.

The Chinese University of Hong kong by e X p o s e / Shutterstock

The Chinese University of Hong kong by e X p o s e / Shutterstock

Treasures of the Deep: Maritime Archaeology in Hong Kong, China and Asia-Pacific (in English)
Prof. Bill Jeffery (Assistant Professor, University of Guam)
Date:16 Nov 2018
Time:4:00-6:00 pm
Venue: LT4 Esther Lee Building, Chung Chi College, CUHK

Maritime archaeology is a relatively new discipline in the anthropology field. As was the case in archaeology, maritime archaeology commenced with a fascination and collection of curios or antiquities and not always with a motivation to preserve and study the archaeological record for the benefit of the general public. Collectors and treasure hunters have taken their toll on terrestrial and underwater sites, recovering and collecting artefacts for selling or keeping as personal possessions. Sites such as Nanhai No.1 in China contain a wealth of information about trade in the 13th century, and other sites throughout China, Korea and parts of South East Asia well illustrate the trade and the types of ships that were used throughout the region, and further afield. The Hong Kong waters, located in a significant part of the maritime silk road, could potentially contain sites of great interest in China’s maritime activities. The recent find of a Song Dynasty anchor stock in Hong Kong waters is a tantalizing link in these activities and perhaps indicative of things to come. It reveals Hong Kong’s maritime cultural landscape and seascape is worthy of exploring in greater detail, where the more than 70,000 scuba divers could be of great assistance. This talk will discuss these issues and activities in addition to placing the region’s maritime archaeology into the world context, particularly in association with UNESCO and its Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Register here.

Opportunity: The MaP Practicum Grants 2018

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via the MaP Fund. Grants available for attending an advanced practicum in Maritime Archaeology. Candidates from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand are encouraged to apply.

In order to further the objectives of the MaP Fund we are offering two (2) grants (each of up to AU$1,000) for:

one (1) early career researcher (less then 5 years since award of PhD) or early career practitioner (less than 5 years working) who is working as a maritime archaeologist or in a closely related position for a museum, university or government agency in Asia or the Pacific (not including the USA, Australia or New Zealand)

AND

one (1) graduate or postgraduate student resident in Asia or the Pacific  region (not including the USA, Australia or New Zealand).and who is currently studying either maritime archaeology OR archaeology and who intends to go on to study maritime archaeology.

Applicants living and working in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand are particularly encouraged to apply

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[Paper] Portable X-ray fluorescence analysis of ceramic covered boxes from the 12th/13th-century Java Sea Shipwreck

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via Journal of Archaeological Science Reports: Portable XRF analysis of Qingbai from the Java Sea Shipwreck.

Forty-one ceramic boxes from the twelfth- or thirteenth-century Java Sea Shipwreck were analyzed at the Elemental Analysis Facility at Chicago’s Field Museum using nondestructive portable x-ray fluorescence (PXRF). Twenty-two samples have a qingbai-type glaze and nineteen are painted ware with painted black decorations originally covered by a lead-based green glaze. The goals of the analysis were to (1) test whether visually similar ceramics shared similar elemental compositions; (2) identify ceramics that might have been made at different kiln sites (or from different paste recipes); and (3) determine if compositional groups in the ceramic dataset differentiated using PXRF are archaeologically meaningful. Based on this study, although PXRF can be successfully used to some degree to differentiate between different groups of qingbai-type ceramics, more research needs to be done on its applicability to painted ware pastes.

Source: Portable X-ray fluorescence analysis of ceramic covered boxes from the 12th/13th-century Java Sea Shipwreck: A preliminary investigation – ScienceDirect

100-year-old steamship found in Thai waters

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Rayong streamship window. Source: Ministry of Culture Thailand

via Thairath, 03 September 2018: News reports of a 100-year-old steamship found in the waters of Rayong. The shipwreck is not a new discovery – but there are some interesting pictures of the finds. There is a particularly interesting account by a diver saying that no fisherman or diver go near the site for fear of the paranormal. The article is in Thai.

Rayong streamship window. Source: Ministry of Culture Thailand

Rayong streamship window. Source: Ministry of Culture Thailand

Source: ตะลึง! นักโบราณคดี พบเรือกลไฟ 100 ปี จมใต้ทะเลระยอง

Bringing salvaged wooden ships and artifacts back to life with ‘smart’ nanotech

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via ScienceDaily, 21 August 2018: Not about Southeast Asia, but of interest to underwater archaeologists. A possible way to preserve wood recovered from underwater contexts through the use of smart nanocomposite particles.

When a shipwreck is brought up from the sea depths, the wood quickly starts deteriorating. Scientists are reporting a novel way to use ‘smart’ nanocomposites to conserve a 16th-century British warship, the Mary Rose, and its artifacts. The new approach could help preserve other salvaged ships by eliminating harmful acids without damaging the wooden structures themselves.

Source: Bringing salvaged wooden ships and artifacts back to life with ‘smart’ nanotech

UK investigates fresh reports of looting of sunken navy ships

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via The Guardian, 19 August 2018: UK Government investigating the looting of sunken navy ships in Malaysian and Indonesian waters.

Infographic on shipwrecks in Malaysian and Indoensian waters from the Daily Mail, 18 August 2018

Infographic on shipwrecks in Malaysian and Indoensian waters from the Daily Mail, 18 August 2018

Gavin Williamson says UK will work closely with Indonesia and Malaysia over claims Second World War ships have been plundered

Source: UK investigates fresh reports of looting of sunken navy ships

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The MaP Fund AIMA/ASHA Conference Grants 2018

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Posted on behalf of the MaP Fund

Applications should be sent to: map.fundsa@gmail.com
Deadline – Monday 26 August 2018

Background
The MaP Fund is dedicated to the advancement of maritime and underwater archaeology and the protection and investigation of underwater cultural heritage in the Asia and the Pacific region, in particular in Australia and the ASEAN countries.

One of the objectives of the MaP Fund is to:
* provide grants and scholarships to support graduate and postgraduate students studying maritime or underwater archaeology or underwater cultural heritage management in Australia in attending and presenting their research at conferences in Australia and overseas. We particularly encourage presentation of research at the annual SHA Conference in the USA, the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage and/or the annual AIMA Conference.

The MaP AIMA/ASHA Conference Grants 2018
In order to further the objectives of the MaP Fund we are offering two (or more) grants (up to a total value of $2,000) for Honours, Graduate (Graduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters) or PhD students enrolled full-time or part-time at any Australian University and conducting research towards a thesis in maritime archaeology or a closely related field.

The grants will help the successful applicants to attend and present their research at the 2018 AIMA/ASHA Conference. The grant is expected to cover some of the costs (airfare, conference registration, accommodation, food allowance or conference tours) associated with the conference.

Eligibility criteria are listed below:
The successful applicants must:
• have submitted and been accepted to present at the AIMA/ASHA Conference
• be resident in any state or territory of Australia.
• be enrolled full-time or part-time at any Australian University
• be conducting research for a thesis in maritime archaeology or a closely related field

Requirements
Applicants for the MaP Fund AIMA/ASHA Conference Grants should provide:
* a copy of their abstract for the conference
* a brief cv (no more than 2 pages)
* a covering letter (no more than 1 page) indicating why they should receive this support
* a budget statement (no more than 1 page) indicating the costs that they expect to incur (airfare, conference registration, accommodation, food allowance or conference tours) and indicating what parts of their budget (if anything) are being paid for by their university, scholarship, employer and/or themselves as well as what they would like the MaP Fund grant to pay for.

The successful applicants will be able to demonstrate a strong interest and commitment to maritime archaeology.

The successful applicant will be expected to write a brief blog about their experiences for the MaP Fund Facebook page during the AIMA/ASHA Conference.

See the MaP Fund Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/mapfundsa/

Registrations for the AIMA/ASHA conference have now opened.
Early bird rates are available for full registration of society (ASHA or AIMA) members, purchased before the 10th August.

Thai ‘Indiana Jones’ divers scour Bangkok’s murky river for treasure

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via Channel NewsAsia, 31 July 2018

Kneeling before his homemade metal scuba helmet, Bhoomin Samang prays for good fortune before he dives into the day’s work – scouring the bed of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river for sunken treasure.

The 62-year-old is part of a small community known as Thailand’s “Indiana Jones” divers, who brave the inky-black underworld of the trash-filled waterway in search of coins, china, jewellery and scrap metal.

“We look for old coins, sometimes we are hired to find lost objects in the river,” says Bhoomin, a veteran diver who has been scouring the river for 30 years.

Source: Thai ‘Indiana Jones’ divers scour Bangkok’s murky river for treasure