Photojournalist Jerry Redfern recently accompanied a team of archaeologists as they excavated at the Plain of Jars in Laos. This enigmatic landscape is filled with thousands of massive stone vessels, some fashioned more than 2,500 years ago. Redfern’s video explores how the team is searching for clues about who created these mysterious jars and what they were used for. To read an in-depth feature on excavations at the Plain of Jars, go to “Letter From Laos: A Singular Landscape.”
via Bangkok Post, 11 Mar 2018: An ongoing Thai TV series has made Ayutthaya popular again. I’ve seen bits of the TV show, and it’s more of a romantic comedy than a historical drama, which has added to the appeal to the show!
Ayutthaya: The ruins and historical sites in this central plains province are a must-see in every guide book, but this ancient former capital is being taken by storm since the premiere of TV series Buppaesannivas (Destiny), a historical fantasy.
via the Cairns Post, 22 Feb 2018: click on the link below to see the video.
Flinders University archaeologist Dr Martin Polkinghorne is digging into the dark age of Cambodia, after the demise of Angkor in the 15th Century. The earth yields the truth about the past, which can be checked against legends and stories. The project has Australian Research Council grant funding, in collaboration with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture…
Code of Conduct video to teach tourists how to behave at Angkor Wat [Link no longer active]
The New Paper, 10 December 2015
An elephant-riding Angkor-era warrior looks on appalled as visitors to Angkor Wat smoke, take selfies with monks, and put their feet on statues in a video released on Friday to encourage good behaviour at Cambodia’s most popular ancient site.
The film, produced by the Apsara Authority, which runs the Angkor temple complex, hammers home a code of conduct introduced earlier this year after highly publicised incidents of bad behaviour including the use of the temple as a backdrop for nude photos.
“It’s our duty to respect the Angkor code of conduct,” Apsara Authority’s deputy director-general Sok Sangvar says in the slickly produced two-minute film.
“These rules are made in order to prevent negative impacts on our temple, our environment and our culture.”
In September I was in Laos and I had the opportunity to visit the Plain of Jars, or at least, a few of the jar sites that dot central Laos around Xieng Khouang province. There are over 2,000 jars spread out in over 100 sites. Not all of them are accessible, because of the presence of UXOs, and several have been destroyed due to war and development.
Aerial view of the Plain of Jars Site 1
The megalithic jars are somewhat unique in Southeast Asia – less known, but distinctively peculiar and in need of further study. They are associated with burials, and the jars themselves display a large variability in forms and sizes and distribution. Despite the rainy weather, I was fortunate to be able to take the UAV out for a spin over various sites:
The excavations at Empress Place have ended, and the artefacts are now at ISEAS being sorted and tagged. These follow-up stories show the kinds of work that needs to be done, as well as some of the more interesting finds from the site.
Empress Place excavation. Source: AsiaOne 20150510
Racing against time to salvage old Singapore
AsiaOne, 10 May 2015
When archaeology volunteer Margaret Wong pulled large ceramic pieces from the soil at an Empress Place excavation site near the Singapore River, she knew by their weight and smooth texture that they were centuries-old jade green fragments of high quality.
But the enormity of her find sunk in only after Chinese porcelain expert Tai Yew Seng, who had been digging nearby, recognised the fragments as imperial-grade ceramics produced between 1368 and 1398.
The pieces, which formed a 34cm diameter platter, turned out to be one of the most significant artefacts unearthed from the two-month dig that wrapped up last month.
The Archaeological Survey of India has been working to restore the Ta Prohm temple for over a decade now. The temple is famous for the trees growing into the structure (and was the picturesque backdrop to one of the Tomb Raider movies), but this state of nature interacting with architecture brings with it a unique set of conservation challenges.
Restoring Cambodia’s Ta Prohm temple challenging: ASI
India Gazette, 07 May 2015
The overlapping of trees and man-made structures at Cambodia’s Ta Prohm temple made the Archeological Survey of India’s restoration work difficult, so they had rope in IIT-Chennai to instruct them in structural engineering.
In a video “India-Cambodia Relations – A Labour of Love” highlighting the role Indian has played in restoration of Ta Prohm, the third most visited site after Angkor Wat and the Bayon temple in the Angkor region, posted online by the external affairs ministry on May 5, Indian archaeologists spoke about the challenges they faced in restoration.
“The restoration work at Ta Prohm temple was quite a challenging task as about 150 huge trees are growing in the complex, and some of them are growing over the structures,” ASI director general Rakesh Tewari in the video.
When the ASI took over the restoration charge in 2003, Tewari noted the temple was “all crumbled down” and resettling the monument wasn’t an easy job.
Crash Course World History is an educational web series that I quite enjoy, and this latest episode from their second season talks about how the control of management of water has been an important innovation for human civilisation. To this end, the episode discusses the Mayan and Khmer (Angkor) cultures.