TV hit sees demand for Silpakorn course skyrocket

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via Bangkok Post, 01 April 2018: The power of mass media exposure – as a result of Buppaesanniwas, applications to Silpakorn University’s archaeology programme jumped three times to 13,000 for the 200 places available.

Driven by the craze for mega-hit period soap opera Love Destiny, or Bupphaesannivas in Thai, students are applying to Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Archaeology in record numbers.

Source: TV hit sees demand for Silpakorn course skyrocket

Public Lecture: Burmese Palaces and Sacred Sites

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For readers in Thailand, Silpakorn University will be hosting a special lecture/seminar next Sunday on sites in Burma. The event is limited to 100 guests, so please register early to avoid disappointment!

Burmese Palaces and Sacred Sites
Venue: Faculty of Decorative Art, Room 3104 (Basement), Silpakorn University (Tha Phra Campus)
Date: Sunday 30th January 2011, 9.00am – 4.00pm

Limited to 100 guests, to reserve a seat contact:
e-mail: Dr.Chedha Tingsanjali Chedha_t@yahoo.com
Phone: Mr.Worapong Apinanthavej +66870097428

Profile of Dr Rasmi Shoocongdej

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I met Dr Rasmi Shoocongdej at a conference last year when she presented her work on community-driven heritage management and archaeology at her project in Mae Hong Son in northern Thailand; the Bangkok Post carried a feature on the archaeologist from Silpakorn University last week.

Digging up the past
Bangkok Post, 04 September 2008
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Spotlight on Sabah's stone age culture

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22 April 2007 (New Straits Times) – Today’s NST features a special spotlight on the stone age culture – past and ethnographic present. The first story is about the prehistory ceramics industrial site at Bukit Tengkorak (Tengkorak Hill).

New Straits Times, 22 Apr 2007

SpotLight: Stone Age Potters

Tampi villagers today don’t think twice about using clay from the foot of Bukit Tengkorak and nearby areas in southeastern Sabah for their pottery, digging wells for fresh water, burning wood for fuel and eating a wide range of fish, shellfish and molluscs.

But most of them are unaware that from about 3,000 until 2,000 years ago, people at the summit of the 600-foot hill did the same–when the Semporna peninsula was a late Stone Age population hub and craft centre.

Experts from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the Sabah Museum Department and the Department of Natural Heritage have found millions of sherds which show that the site about five kilometres from Semporna town was one of the largest, if not the largest, pottery making sites in Island Southeast Asia (SEA) and the Pacific during the Neolithic era (the last part of the Stone Age, beginning 8,000 BC).

Their findings have overturned some theories about how prehistoric people lived and traded in the region.

Until the excavations here, archaeologists believed that long-distance sea trade and migration of people in insular SEA and the Pacific moved east from Melanesia (near Papua New Guinea) to Polynesia, leaving behind what is known as the “Lapita culture” of pottery, stone tools and ornaments.

“Our research at Bukit Tengkorak shows that 3,000 years ago, people were not only moving east towards New Britain in Melanesia but also westwards towards Sabah,” explains Dr Stephen Chia of USM’s Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia, who based his PhD thesis on the site.

“This is one of the longest trading routes in the world during the Neolithic period,” says the archeochemist who found obsidian (a volcanic glass used to make tools) at the site and traced it chemically to Talasea in New Britain, 3500 kilometres away. His fieldwork in Southeast Asia also found stone tools and pottery similar to Bukit Tengkorak in the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago and Sulawesi.

The second story covers the Bajau people who live in the vicinity of Bukit Tengkorak on the Semporna peninsula of Sabah – the clay stoves produced by the Bajau are remarkably similar to the 3,000-year-old stoves unearthed nearby, implying an unbroken ceramics manufacturing tradition.

New Straits Times, 22 Apr 2007

Bajaus carrying on a long tradition

The finished handiwork of this Bajau woman in Sabah’s southeastern Semporna peninsula looks exactly like the 3,000-year-old stove unearthed at nearby Bukit Tengkorak.

“Pottery has been made like this for hundreds of years,” says Rogayah. “Each house has a stove to grill fish or satay and cook rice.”

“The way of life of the Bajaus today and the food they eat are similar to what we found on site,” says Dr Stephen Chia of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia.

“We think that the nomadic Bajau Laut may have landed here to trade, mend their nets, dry fish and bury their dead, but it was the settled coastal Bajaus who made the pottery.”
However, he cautions: “The people of Bukit Tengkorak could also be a totally different group of maritime people who shifted here and then moved on.”


Related Books:
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by P. S. Bellwood and I. Glover (Eds)
Man’s conquest of the Pacific: The prehistory of Southeast Asia and Oceania by P. Bellwood

10,000-year-old caves discovered

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10 December 2006 (The Nation) – A series of caves in North Thailand prove to yield significant archaeological material. The location of the caves remain undisclosed, but are slated for research and eco-tourism in the future.

10,000-year-old caves discovered

Exploration uncovers 176 caves, which can provide answers about life in the North

Scientists have recently made significant cave discoveries in the Pang Mapha district of Mae Hong Son.

They are excited about the geological, ecological and archaeological importance of the finds.

A few of the caves will be opened to tourists but most will be preserved for research.

Silpakorn University archaeologist Dr Rasmi Shookongdej said finds from the caves and their surrounding areas were important. After three years the team still has much to study.

“The traces we found tell us how people in the area used caves in their age, which is more than 10,000 years ago. We found burial sites, skeletons and stone and iron tools,” Rasmi said.

The 176 caves have been divided into three categories – tourists can visit 15, 112 will be saved for research and 49 have yet to be classified.

The 15 tourist caves have been divided again – seven are for adventure tourists, four for general tourism and another four have religious significance.

Of those set aside for research, dozens could be opened to visitors later, Kasem added. But, priority was study.

Tamil-Brahmi inscription on pottery found in Thailand

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16 July 2006 (The Hindu) – Inscriptions on a 2nd-century pottery find in Thailand indicate origins in Tamil Nadu in India, indicating a new extent of Tamil influence in the ancient world.

The Hindu, 16 July 2006

Tamil-Brahmi inscription on pottery found in Thailand

A unique Tamil-Brahmi Inscription on pottery of the second century AD has recently been excavated in Thailand.

A Thai-French team of archaeologists, led by Dr. Bérénice Bellina of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, and Praon Silpanth, Lecturer, Silpakorn University, Thailand, has discovered a sherd of inscribed pottery during their current excavations at Phu Khao Thong in Thailand.

At the request of the archaeologists, Iravatham Mahadevan, an expert in Tamil Epigraphy, has examined the inscription. He has confirmed that the pottery inscription is in Tamil and written in Tamil-Brahmi characters of about the second century AD. Only three letters have survived on the pottery fragment. They read tu Ra o… , possibly part of the Tamil word turavon meaning `monk.’


Related Books:
Temple Art Icons and Culture of India and South East Asia by K. V. Raman
Art of India and Southeast Asia
Temple Consecration Rituals in Ancient India: Text and Archaeology (Brill’s Indological Library) by A. A. Slaczka