Excavations at Trowulan Information Centre ends

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The excavation at the site of the Majapahit Information Centre concluded last week, yielding the discovery of 150,000 fragments (?) and 60,000 Chinese coins (periods not specified). The haul of Chinese cash has been interpreted as th existence of trade and diplomatic relations between China and Majapahit, but I think it’s important to note that Chinese coinage is found just about everywhere in Southeast Asia – it could have been accepted as some sort of universal currrency, similar to how the US dollar is accepted in most parts of SEA today.

Ratusan Ribu Peninggalan Majapahit Ditemukan
Kompas.com, 22 November 2009
Translation via Google Translate
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Chinese archaeologists get green light to salvage more from 800-year-old wreck

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Chinese archaeologists receive approval to search an 800-year-old shipwreck, the Nanhai No. 1, for more artifacts. The wreck is currently in a sealed pool in the Marine Silk Road Museum at China’s Guangdong Province. Artifacts already recovered from the shipwreck show that China was taking part in international trade with the other side of the old world.

Ancient shipwreck to be trawled for treasures
China Daily, 22 June 2009
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Documentary to highlight 1,000-year-old relations between Brunei and China

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A special documentary programme is being produced to showcase Brunei’s long history with China, through archaeological evidence from the 10th century Sungei Limau Manis site containing Song Dynasty artefacts, the shipwreck at Tanjung Simpang Mengkayauas well as the many ancient Chinese-Muslim graves in Brunei.

1,000 Years Of Brunei-China Ties To Be Documented
BruDirect, 21 May 2009

RTB To Film Documentary 7 On Brunei-China History
BruDirect, 21 May 2009
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Digitizing the largest museum collection

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01 Jun 2007 (Computerworld Singapore/Malaysia) – It’s a massive undertaking, but one that will be welcomed by anyone interested in the art and archaeology of China. The National Palace Museum of Taiwan is seeking to digitise its massive collection – taken out of China in 1949 to prevent its destruction – into an online database. China is a key reference point in understanding the archaeology of Southeast Asia. For example, the diffusion of metalworking technologies during in neolithic mainland Southeast Asia is inexplicanly linked to Chinese styles. The existence of many Southeast Asian polities (Srivijaya, Funan and Chitu for example) are cross-referenced to Chinese records of tributes and emmisaries received in the Chinese court. Chinese ceramics are common finds in Southeast Asia excavations and shipwrecks, and important in providing a dating reference.

Ancient China’s treasures go digital

The largest and most valuable collection of ancient Chinese art and artifacts in the world is being entered into the digital universe in Taiwan by museum curators and IT managers intent on freeing it from its physical boundaries.

The goal is to make the massive collection available on the Internet. Researchers will be able to find rare documents in an easy-to-use database, teachers will be able to download information and images they can use in course work, and visitors will enjoy vivid exhibitions, films, music, access to favorite works of art and virtual tours.

“The culture effect is more important than the technology. We’re trying to give people a warm feeling about these artifacts. We want the human touch,” said James Lin, director of the information management center at the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

The initiative is part of Taiwan’s government-funded National Digital Archives program and it aims to do for the treasures of China what was first done in 1925 — open them to the world. This time, however, it will display the museum’s treasures on a far grander scale. When the last Emperor of China was deposed in 1925, part of his Forbidden City was turned into a museum so the public could view the treasures collected there. It was meant to signify the turn to a republican government, in which all took part and no single person held special privilege over the artifacts.

No details on when exactly the database will be up, although I expect it will be quite a while before something comes up. There’s all sorts of politics involved (between China and Taiwan) over ownership of the artefacts too. You can read more about the proposed attempt to digitise the collections of the National Palace Museum.

Wondering about Chinese material culture showing up in Southeast Asia? Here are some sources:
Art & Archaeology of Fu Nan by J. C. Khoo
Angkor: The Khmers in Ancient Chinese Annals by P. Y. W. Chuen and W. Weng
The Bronze Age of Southeast Asia (Cambridge World Archaeology) by C. Higham
Chinese Celadons and Other Related Wares in Southeast Asia by the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society

Trailing the footsteps of Buddha’s disciples

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15 June 2006 (ExpressIndia) – The state archaeologists of Uttar Pradesh announce their intention to trace and document sites along the route taken by Buddha’s disciples, through Southeast Asian countries like Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Trailing the footsteps of Buddha’s disciples

Which is why, the state’s archeology department has finally decided to track the route taken by Buddha’s disciples—Kumar Jeev, Kashyap and Matang— to spread his message of peace and harmony. The department will not only follow the land route, but also document the spots that retain their footsteps.

The project, titled “The Buddha Sandesh Yatra”, will span 11 countries. Beginning from Sarnath, the team will travel to Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afganistan, Pakistan and Tibet.

Related Books:
The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia (Suny Series in Religion) by D. K. Swearer
The Canon in Southeast Asian Literature: Literatures of Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Phillippines, Thailand and Vietnam by D. Smyth
Sacred Rocks and Buddhist Caves in Thailand by C. Munier