Selections, July 2006

A selection of archaeology-related books, new to the catalogue of Select Books, a specialised publisher and retailer of books pertaining to Southeast Asia. For ordering info, please visit the Select Books website.

039046
Zheng He And Maritime Asia. National Library Board. Sg. 2005. 156pp. pb $34.65 (An exhibition celebrating Zheng He was held at the new headquarters of the National Library of Singapore from July 2005 to February 2006. It was organised to mark the occasion of the Library’s move into new premises, and last year being the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s first voyage, the exhibition also recognised the parallel between the importance of Zheng He’s maritime legacy and the importance of maritime trade to Singapore. This book was published to accompany the exhibition. Attractively designed, it is generously illustrated with maps, drawings and photographs. The illuminating text provides an overview of the early history of Chinese maritime trade before going on to explore the life and times of Zheng He and the countries he had sojourned to in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. Bilingual in English and Chinese.)

038785
Ancient India, Land Of Mystery [Lost Civilisations]. Brown, Dale M et al (eds.). Gb. 2005. 168pp. hc $41.95 (20th century excavations at some 1000 sites offered new knowledge of the often virtually unknown prehistoric and early people of India. In this extensively illustrated volume accounts are given of the archaeologists’ work and of the sometimes very sophisticated societies which have been revealed. Part 1 is on the Harappan civilization in the Indus Valley of 2600-1800 BCE; Part 2 deals with the Vedic and Epic Ages 1800-600BCE and the warlike Indo-Aryans who settled in the Indus and upper Ganges valleys; Part 3 describes the pre-Mauryan and Mauryan Period 600-100 BCE which was greatly influenced by Buddhism founded by Sautama around 500 BCE; Part 4 looks at the kingdoms of the Kushanas and their commerce, arts, and monuments and Part 5 describes the better known time of the Guptas 300-50 BCE. Six notable specialists have cooperated in the production of this book. With sketch maps, bibliography and index.)

038943
Angkor Explorer. Singh, Vijay. Cm. 2005. pb $15.20 (This foldout guide to Angkor is packed with both maps and information. Besides a large temple location map, there is a simple map of Siem Reap Town showing hotels and restaurants, maps of ancient Southeast Asia and layout plans of Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Angkor Wat and Bayon. Captioned inset colour photographs introduce these and other key temples. There is also a chronology of kings and temples of the Angkorian period.)

038942
Spiritual Journey To Banteay Srei, A: The Sacred Temple Of Shri Tribhuvan Maheshwar. Singh, Vijay. Cm. 2004. 40pp. pb $8.40 (The Hindu temple of Banteay Srei, founded in 967AD is 30km from Angkor Wat. This pocketbook describes the temple and its architecture and includes 60 photographs, layout plans and a discussion of the enduring spiritual message that the temple still conveys to the visitor or devotee. With glossary and bibliography.)

038713
History Of Indonesia, The. Drakeley, Steven. Us. 2005. 201pp. hc $47.25 (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations series is written for the pre-university student or general reader. The volume on Indonesia tracks the vast country’s multifaceted history from pre-historic times (the fossilised Java Man lived over a million years ago) through its early and colonial periods to the 1945 proclamation of independence, the Sukarno Era (1945-67), the Soeharto Era (1966-98) and then Indonesia after Soeharto. With timeline, glossary, biographical summaries, bibliographic essay and index.)

037793
History Of Lanna. Ongsakul, Sarassawadee. Th. 2005. 328pp. pb $42.00 (This is a substantially revised edition of the author’s 1986 complete history of the Lan Na Kingdom of Northern Thailand. There is preliminary discussion of early records and the city states which pre-existed in the 13th century Lan Na Kingdom. Its history is traced through periods under Burmese Rule (1558-1774), as a tributary state of Siam (1774-1899), and contact with imperial powers, and Lan Na’s final unification with Bangkok under the Thai monarchy. With notes in Thai, bibliography of Thai and English material, glossary and index in English.)

037410
Ancient Pagan: Buddhist Plain Of Merit. Stadtner, Donald M.; Michael Freeman (photo.). Th. 2005. 286pp. pb $51.45 (Pagan is the largest and most resplendent centre of Buddhist art in the ancient world. Nearly 3000 brick monuments – temples, stupas and monasteries – dot the landscape up and down the banks of the Irrawaddy as far as the eye can see. Construction at Pagan peaked between the 11th and 13th centuries when the city was home to the country’s kings and its chief religious personalities. The author presents 33 of these monuments, each with a unique story to tell about Pagan. He delves into the history and architecture of each monument and the treasure-trove of Buddhist art that lays within its walls, and in doing so he paints a larger picture of the development of Pagan’s monuments, painting and sculpture. This lushly illustrated volume also includes suggested hotels and activities for visitors, a glossary and an index.

Antiquity findings in ancient village

500-year-old village found in Vietnam featuring intact architecture, and small finds indicating betel-chewing.

18 July 2006 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – 500-year-old village found in Vietnam featuring intact architecture, and small finds indicating betel-chewing.

Antiquity findings in ancient village

Many valuable findings have been made at a no longer used 500-year-old village in the central province of Quang Ngai, the oldest village in central Vietnam still has most of its original architecture intact.

Covering an area of more than 10,000 sq.m, the village is surrounded by an imposing stone wall that is 2.5-3 metre high and 1-1.5 metres wide. The wall was constructed to guard villagers against enemies or wild beasts. Similar stone walls were also found in other central region areas, such as Do Linh in Quang Tri province and Ly Son Island in Quang Ngai.


Related Books:
Early Civilizations of Southeast Asia by D. J. W. O’Reilly
Early Cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia

After `Angkor Wat’ Archeological Survey of India gets restoration work of `Ta Prohm’ temple in Cambodia

New conservation project awarded to the Archaeological Survey of India for another Cambodian Temple.

17 July 2006 (Press Information Bureau of India, and thereafter released on several Indian news sources) – New conservation project awarded to the Archaeological Survey of India for another Cambodian Temple.

After `Angkor Wat’ Archeological Survey of India gets restoration work of `Ta Prohm’ temple in Cambodia

After the successful completion of the Angkor Wat Project in Cambodia, the Cambodian Government has now assigned to the Archeological Survey of India another important project for restoration, the famous 12th Century “ Prasat Ta Prohm” Temple complex, built by King Jayavarman VII. The progress on this project was reviewed today by the Minister of Tourism & Culture, Smt. Ambika Soni and Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, Mr. Lay Prohas during a luncheon meeting, here today. The lunch was hosted by Smt. Soni in honour of the visiting dignitary.

The restoration work of Ta Prohm Temple complex, which is also situated in the Angkor Region and ranks high amongst the most important monuments of that area, is quite a challenging task as about 150 huge trees are growing in the complex and some of them are growing over the structures. Roots have penetrated the foundation and dislodged the stones of walls, vaults, towers etc.


Related Books:
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition by D. Rooney and P. Danford
Angkor: A Tour of the Monuments by T. Zephir and L. Invernizzi
The Site of Angkor by J. Dumarcay

20,000 year old artifacts discovered in Quang Tri

15 July 2006 (VietNam Net Bridge) -Reports of an ongoing excavation belonging to a prehistoric culture.

20,000 year old artifacts discovered in Quang Tri

Archeologists from the Quang Tri Museum and the Viet Nam Institute of Archeology have unearthed hundreds of artifacts believed to belong to the early Hoa Binh culture dating back to about 15,000-20,000 years ago at an excavation site in central Quang Tri Province.


Related Books:
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by I. Glover

Ancient ship wreck yields antiques in Vietnam waters

A shipwreck found off the coast of the Binh Dinh Province has yielded Song Dynasty ceramics in an initial survey.

Yes! It has been a rather slow news week, which explains the lack of updates.
14 July 2006 (Thanh Nien News) – A shipwreck found off the coast of the Binh Dinh Province has yielded Song Dynasty ceramics in an initial survey.

Ancient ship wreck yields antiques in Vietnam waters

Vietnam province authorities recently discovered a shipwreck off the central coast loaded with antique pottery, reported central Binh Dinh province museum.

According to the museum authorities, the wreck is located at sea waters of My Duc commune of Phu My district in Binh Dinh province.


Related Books:
Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure in Southeast Asia by T. Wells
Oriental trade ceramics in Southeast Asia, 10th to 16th century: Selected from Australian collections, including the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Bodor Collection by J. Guy
Chinese Celadons and Other Related Wares in Southeast Asia by the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society

Earthen jars could be from the 18th century

A follow up to the previous post on unearthed pottery at Kota Tinggi.

8 July 2006 (New Straits Times) – A follow up to the previous post on unearthed pottery at Kota Tinggi. Thanks to Liz of Caves of Malaysia for the lead.

New Straits Times, 8 July 2006

Earthen jars could be from the 18th century

Johor Heritage Foundation curator Dr Kamaruddin Ab Razak said the jars, which were unearthed by settlers in the area, might have been used as storage containers.

He also said that based on the shapes and designs of the jars, they could have been the handiwork of local potters.


Related Books:
Early History (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia) by Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman (Ed)
Earthenware in Southeast Asia: Proceedings of the Singapore Symposium on Premodern Southeast Asian Earthenwares by J. Miksic
Earthenware traditions in Indonesia: From prehistory until the present by S. Soegondho
Folk Pottery in South-East Asia by D. F. Rooney

Sitting on ancient ruins

Ambivalent feelings about posting here. News of excavated artefacts is always interesting, but some aspects of the story (eg, hearing voices) are more dodgy.

6 July 2006 (New Straits Times) – Ambivalent feelings about posting here. News of excavated artefacts is always interesting, but some aspects of the story (eg, hearing voices) are more dodgy. Many thanks to Liz of Caves of Malaysia for pointing this out to me.

Sitting on ancient ruins

KOTA TINGGI: Since they moved there in 1975, settlers of Felda Bukit Aping Timur in Kota Tinggi have had the nagging feeling there is more to their land than meets the eye.

They believe they might be sitting on the ruins of an early civilisation.

They have unearthed large quantities of pots, jars and other artifacts while working their smallholdings, not to mention the “strange events” that have occurred.


Related Books:
Early History (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia) by Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman (Ed)

Invasion, genocide; and now the tourist hordes

A report on the tourism industry in Cambodia, particularly how Angkor is a major draw for tourists and the related problems that come with it.

9 July 2006 (Sunday Herald) – A report on the tourism industry in Cambodia, particularly how Angkor is a major draw for tourists and the related problems that come with it.

Invasion, genocide … and now the tourist hordes

Dougald O’Reilly, of Heritage Watch, says: “Archaeological tourism is, potentially, this ravaged country’s economic salvation. The temples of Angkor are still the primary destination of most tourists, but more and more people are starting to venture out to Cambodia’s more remote archaeological sites. As they do so there is an increasing danger that those temples which have survived years of abandonment, war and looting do not survive their own popularity.”

Groups such as Heritage Watch have proved effective campaigners, appealing to tourists not to buy artifacts, persuading the government to protect Cambodia’s past, and using superstition as an effective weapon. A comic book distributed to villages last year tells the story of farmers who dig up an ancient site in search of treasure. Their animals sicken and die and ghosts plague them. The book, with a cover picture of a skeleton on a phantom horse rearing over petrified treasure seekers, has apparently been quite successful in getting its message across.


Related Books:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques

Ancient village discovered in central Vietnam

5 July 2006 (Thanh Nien News)

Ancient village discovered in central Vietnam

Archaeologists last month unearthed an almost 600-year-old village in the central Vietnam province of Quang Ngai.

Andrew Hardy, chief representative of Far East Archaeological Museum in Vietnam, in coordination with domestic researchers discovered the village which is almost intact.

Centuries-old coffins rotting at ancient burial site

Some 200 coffins, possibly dating to the early 8th century, risk becoming irrepairably damaged unless preservation actions are taken.

3 July 2006 (Viet Nam News) – Some 200 coffins, possibly dating to the early 8th century, risk becoming irrepairably damaged unless preservation actions are taken.

Centuries-old coffins rotting at ancient burial site

A cave containing 200 centuries-old wooden coffins in the northern province of Thanh Hoa may be irreparably damaged unless it is preserved soon by archaeologists, says a local official.

The cave is hidden in a dense forest near the top of a high rocky mountain at a spot where the Luong estuary merges into the Ma River in Hoi Xuan Commune, about 140 km away from Thanh Hoa City.