If anyone’s in Bangkok this Thursday (16 August), I’ll be giving a lecture at the Siam Society on the Invisible Paintings of Angkor Wat. I gave a similar lecture at the Asian Civilisations Museum earlier this year. The lecture begins at 7.30 pm.
In 2014, a paper published in the journal Antiquity revealed “invisible” paintings on the walls of Angkor Wat. These paintings, found throughout the temple, are mostly invisible to the naked eye. Some of the most indiscernible paintings are compositions of entire wall murals, apparently unfinished. This talk will reveal the invisible paintings of Angkor Wat, along with other historical graffiti found at the site. The post-Angkorian corpus of paintings and engravings present at the Angkor Wat illustrate a long history of occupation, reuse and conversion, shedding light on a common misconception that the temple was abandoned to the jungle before being “rediscovered” by the French and the Western world in the 18th century, and the transformation of Angkor Wat from a 12th century Hindu temple into a Buddhist stupa.
If you’re in Bangkok next week, join the Pint of Science Festival which will be held for the first time in Thailand. Pint of Science brings science to the public by bringing researchers to the the pub. I have a spot on Tuesday, 16 May – the only archaeology presentation! Tickets are free, but registration is required and snacks are included.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Elephants: The unseen cave paintings of Southeast Asia
Noel Hidalgo Tan (SEAMEO SPAFA)
Step into the world of rock art – filled with carvings of gods, cave paintings and reminders of humankind’s long interaction with the landscape. Like the landscapes of Australia and South Africa, Southeast Asia is home to hundreds of rock art sites even as most of them are unknown or inaccessible. What have archaeologists learned about the past through these ancient images?!
Source: Pint of Science Thailand | Tuesday 16th May
The Phnom Penh Post’s weekend edition has another story on the Angkor Wat paintings, and this story nicely contextualises the find with the work by my colleagues at the University of Sydney who have been working there far longer than I have – shedding light on the so-called ‘dark ages’ of Angkor between the empire’s ‘fall’ and subsequent ‘rediscovery’.
Paintings in Angkor Wat. Source: Phnom Penh Post 21 June 2014
It’s strange to post a news story that I was directly involved in, but in the interests of archiving (see also here), my paper on the invisible paintings of Angkor Wat was published last week in the journal Antiquity. It’s been receiving lots of interest, which I’ve been really happy about, and I’ll post something about my own personal experience about it in a later post. (Edit: I’ve received a fair bit of media coverage already – so maybe I’ll not talk about it later.)
Last year I posted about charting the rock art sites in Southeast Asia, based on a survey of the literature available. Today I’m pleased to announce the result of that effort; an overview of rock art in Southeast Asia published as an Open Access paper in Arts.
The Rock Art of Southeast Asia. Source: Rock Art Research in Southeast Asia: A Synthesis, Arts.
Rock art has been known in Southeast Asia since the early 19th century, but relatively little attention has been paid to this class of archaeological material. This paper attempts to correct the perception that there is little rock art known in the region; especially in the light of intensified research efforts over the last 30 years that have led to the discovery of numerous new sites. Over a thousand rock art sites are known in the form of rock paintings, petroglyphs and megaliths in Southeast Asia, and their distribution across the various territories are uneven. This paper summarises the state of rock art research in Southeast Asia and discusses some of the challenges of studying rock art in this region, research trends and new finds from recent research.
A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation about the rock art of Southeast Asia at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, where I am based for most of this year. My colleagues at the the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre’s Archaeology Unit made a recording of the lecture and have uploaded it on Youtube: