Hue Royal Citadel Antique Museum set for restoration works

22 November 2007 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – The Hue Temple museum, used to house the antiquities from imperial-era Vietnam, will undergo a restoration during the next two years.

Vietnam Net Bridge, 22 Nov 2007

Hue Temple museum gets a makeover

Long An Temple, considered to be one of the finest wooden structures of the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), will undergo restoration over the next two years.

The Hue Temple is being used as a museum for royal antiquities.

An investment of 13.5 billion VND (840,000 USD), from State coffers will be earmarked for preservation work in early 2008, said Phan Thanh Hai of the Hue Centre for Monument Conservation, which will over-see the project.

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Wednesday Rojak #12

Wednesday Rojak is back today, after a short break last week. Today, we have a little bit of Cambodia, and a little bit of Singapore:

  • Sample some Cambodian cuisine in Fragrance and Spice, Khmer Style.
  • Fancy being a museum volunteer and getting up close with Greek antiquities dating as far back as 5th century BC? The National Museum of Singapore is seeking volunteers for an upcoming exhibition called Greek Masterpieces from the Louvre. Find out more.
  • Alvin shares some images from the Mekong river in Fisherfolk of the Mekong.
  • He also shares some papers on ancient Angkor medicine here and here, courtesy of Professor Rethy Chhem.
  • Singapore Stuff has a feature on archaeology in Singapore and posts a range of links to sites on the subjec – SEAArch has been featured, too!

In this series of weekly rojaks (published on Wednesdays) I’ll feature other sites in the blogosphere that are of related to archaeology in Southeast Asia. Got a recommendation for the next Wednesday rojak? Email me!

Wandering craftsmen behind jade working?

20 November 2007 (National Geographic News) – National Geographic’s story on the chemical tracing of jade artefacts from Southeast Asia. It’s interesting to note that while the jade came mainly from a single source, they were worked outside of Taiwan. And despite their wide dispersal to Philippines, Vietnam and to a large part of Southeast Asia they were worked into two distinct styles, implying some sort of specialised tradition.

Jade Earrings Reveal Ancient S.E. Asian Trade Route
by Carolyn Barry

Jade jewelry found near ancient burial sites across Southeast Asia has revealed one of the largest marine trading networks of prehistoric times, a new study says.

Mineral analysis shows that most of nearly 150 sampled artifacts dated as far back as 3000 B.C. can be traced back to a single site in Taiwan (see map), about 190 miles (120 kilometers) off the coast of mainland China.

This indicates that the small island supplied much of Southeast Asia with a unique variety of the semiprecious stone via a 1,800-mile (3,000-kilometer) trade route around the South China Sea.

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Jade analysis reveals ancient Southeast Asian network

20 November 2007 (ABC News in Science, Reuters) – A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals the existence of an extensive interaction network involving Taiwanese jade (nephrite) as far back as 5,000 years ago. The jade artefacts turn up in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines (where it is known locally as lingling-o). Using a newly-developed process to analyse the jade, the study found that 116 out of the 144 artefacts came from the same source in Taiwan. The predominant source of jade in Taiwan, coupled with the distribution of the jade artefacts throughout Southeast Asia and their relative uniformity of the artefact types, leads to the conclusion that there must have been an extensive degree of interaction between different Southeast Asian populations, even across the sea. What’s left now is to uncover the technique used to create the jade artefacts. Experimental archaeology, anyone?

ABC News in Science / PNAS 20 nov 2007

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Disputed Khmer temple to be renovated by Archaeological Survey of India

19 November 2007 (, Bangkok Post) – Preah Vihear, a hotly contested khmer temple that straddles between the Thai and Cambodian borders is to be renovated by a neutral party – the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple sits on a high cliff and rests on Cambodian soil; however, entrance into the temple is via the Thai side of the border. I’m not sure how this move resolves any diplomatic tensions over the site, however.

The other interesting aspect of the two stories is the involvement of the Archaeological Survey of India, which has been active in restoring many Hindu temples throughout Southeast Asia. Notably, it had helped restore the Prambanan temples in Indonesia after it as damaged during last year’s earthquake as well as the Ta Prohm, another Angkoran temple.

Preah Vihear, Creative Commons image by Hintz Family
Creative Commons image by Hintz Family

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Hoi An in danger of being washed away by floods

19 November 2007 (Thanh Nien News) – The historic buildings of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam is in danger of being damaged and washed away by floods.


World heritage sites of Hoi An endangered due to floods
by Tien Phong

Many ancient houses in the UNESCO-designated World Heritage site in the old town of Hoi An have been submerged in flood waters and are in danger of collapsing.

The 160 ancient houses, which display a unique blend of local and foreign influenced architectural styles due to its status as a major harbor town of the 16th and 17th centuries, are a major tourist attraction of the central region.

The recent floods have strongly affected the central provinces, killing over 50 people and causing extensive damage to property and crops.

Before you take Buddha out of Thailand…

16 November 2007 (Phuket Gazette) – Did you know you need a permit before taking Buddha images out of Thailand? I didn’t either. Shoppers looking for souvenirs in Thailand should take note then. While most of the images are cheap imitations, apparently some archaeological material may slip through, like how a Khmer sandstone head was seized from a departing tourist last year.

Phuket Gazette, 16 Nov 2007

Seized Buddha images donated to Thalang museum

In a small ceremony at Phuket International Airport, Airport Customs officials yesterday handed over to the Thalang National Museum 93 Buddha images seized from departing tourists over the past year.

Phuket Airport Customs Director Ruthai Lertkietdamrong told the Gazette most of the images were seized from tourists who bought them from shops unaware that they needed permission from the Fine Arts Department to take them out of the country.

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Nalanda and the Southeast Asian connection

If you’re in Singapore between now and March 2008, don’t miss a unique opportunity to drop by the Asian Civilisations Museum for a special exhibition called On the Nalanda Trail, which showcases Buddhism in India, China and Southeast Asia and traces the pilgrimages of three Chinese monks as they travel to India and back. I’ve written about the exhibition’s focus on China and India at; here, I’ll write about the exhibition in relation to Buddhism in Southeast Asia.

Nalanda Trail - SEA section

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Sharing our Archaeological Heritage – Day 3

After nine sessions and 37 papers, the final day was certainly about letting our hair down and enjoying the new friendships made – along with taking the obligatory photos! Day 3 was a tour of the various cultural sites of Johor: the morning was a visit to the Johor Art Gallery as well as the Sultan’s palace museum, while in the afternoon, I hitched a ride with an international group of archaeologists who wanted to make a quick visit to Singapore. In lieu of the free ride home I gave them the grand tour of Singapore (abridged for the five-hour time frame).

Johor Palace Museum

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'Warrior Women' unearthed in Cambodia

15 November 2007 (Yahoo News) – An excavation at Phum Snay reveals 35 skeletons, five of which are women who were buried with swords and possibly helmets. Evidence of woman warriors? This find is certainly unusual indeed, but it’s probably too early to get excited about the prospect of some amazonian society. It’ll be interesting to see if the skeletal remains reveal any telltale signs of battle-related injuries, particularly of cuts to the bone around the arm areas. The story doesn’t give any approximate date for the burials, but it looks like a pre-Angkorian find.

Yahoo News, 15 Nov 2007

Women warriors may have battled in ancient Cambodia

Archaeologists have found female skeletons buried with metal swords in Cambodian ruins, indicating there may have been a civilisation with female warriors, the mission head said Thursday.

The team dug up 35 human skeletons at five locations in Phum Snay in northwestern Cambodia in research earlier this year, said Japanese researcher Yoshinori Yasuda, who led the team.

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