How China uses shipwrecks to weave a history of seaborne trade that backs up its construction of a new maritime Silk Road

via South China Morning Post, 29 November 2017: The Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage is currently underway in Hong Kong, with many participants from Southeast Asia. This report from the SCMP focuses on China’s emerging role as a leader in maritime archaeology and its potential implications for its power.

This week, more than 100 of the region’s leading marine archaeologists from 23 nations convened at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum for the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage. At the opening reception on Monday night, the meteoric rise of China as a force in maritime archaeology was one of the popular topics of discussion.

Source: How China uses shipwrecks to weave a history of seaborne trade that backs up its construction of a new maritime Silk Road

Follow the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage #apconf2017

The Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage is currently underway in Hong Kong until the end of the week. If you are on Twitter you can follow the proceedings with the hashtah #apconf2017 (or see the feed below)

Over 400 Bornean ethnographic artifacts in Holland to come home soon

via Borneo Post, 25 November 2017:

KUCHING: More than 400 Bornean ethnographic artifacts will be returned to Sarawak Museum from a museum in the City of Delft in the Netherlands. The artifacts were symbolically handed over by Delft …

Source: Over 400 Bornean ethnographic artifacts in Holland to come home soon

Historical fragments of Sriwijaya in Palembang

via Jakarta Post, 25 November 2017:

Palembang in South Sumatra, which we know today as an industrial city, was an international trade hub for a 100 years, beginning with the rise of the Sriwijaya kingdom in the seventh century.

Source: Historical fragments of Sriwijaya in Palembang

Fine arts unit reproached for ancient wall restoration

via Bangkok Post, 24 November 2017:

CHACHOENGSAO: A local fine arts agency defended the restoration of an ancient city wall built in the reign of King Rama III in Muang district, saying the maintenance costing more than 9 million baht was conducted with materials similar to those used in the bygone era.

Source: Fine arts unit reproached for ancient wall restoration

El Nido cave proposed as heritage site

via Palawan NEws, 22 Nov 2017:

El Nido authorities want to declare the town’s archaeologically-important Ille Cave in Brgy. New Ibajay as a National Cultural Heritage Site.

Municipal Administrator RJ de la Calzada said they met with the National Museum last week to discuss the process of declaring the cave pursuant to Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

“We’re fast-tracking Ille Cave’s declaration at least by next year,” he told Palawan News on Tuesday, November 22.

Source: El Nido cave proposed as heritage site – Palawan News

[New Paper] Revisiting the Bujang Valley: A Southeast Asian entrepôt complex on the maritime trade route

New paper on the Bujang Valley by Stephen Murphy:

In the early 1830s and 1840s, a British colonial official by the name of Colonel James Low uncovered evidence for an early culture with Indic traits in a river system known as the Bujang Valley. On the west coast of the Thai-Malay peninsula, the Bujang Valley is today located in the Malaysian state of Kedah. However, it wasn’t until just before World War II that excavations took place, conducted by H. G. Quaritch Wales and his wife Dorothy. Their discoveries and subsequent publications led to the first real attempts to explain the origins and extent of this civilisation and its place within the larger South and Southeast Asian world. In the intervening years between Quaritch Wales’s excavations and the present day, considerably more research has taken place within the Bujang Valley, though this has not been without controversy. Recently claims and counter-claims regarding the antiquity of Hinduism and Buddhism at the site have arisen in some quarters within Malaysia. It therefore seems pertinent that this material be re-evaluated in light of new scholarship and discoveries as well as the prevailing paradigms of interactions between South and Southeast Asia. This paper presents an updated reading of this material and argues that the Bujang Valley should be seen as a cosmopolitan trading port with substantive evidence for the presence of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Source: Revisiting the Bujang Valley: A Southeast Asian entrepôt complex on the maritime trade route | Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society | Cambridge Core
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1356186317000505

[New Paper] Potent Places in Central Vietnam: ‘Everything that Comes Out of the Earth is Cham’

New paper in the Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology by Anne-Valérie Schweyer:

Set apart from the so-called ‘Hinduisation’ process, the Cham country is characterised by the presence of many sites or shrines dedicated to local deities. This paper—based on the analysis of archaeological and anthropological evidence—aims to identify these cults, to clarify the associated practices and to demonstrate how the local cults map out the entire local geography. Moreover, in central Vietnam, it is possible to precisely examine ‘potent places’ in order to achieve a better understanding of the local cults and the persistence of those cults from antiquity to the present. In ancient times, each local deity was connected to a political power, which ‘exhaled’ it and, at the same time, put a mark on the territory. The diversity of potent places allows a better understanding of puzzling territories. The continuity of ritual practices performed at Cham potent places, centuries after the disappearance of any form of Cham political power, shows the link between the first occupants of the land and the following Viet inhabitants.

Source: Potent Places in Central Vietnam: ‘Everything that Comes Out of the Earth is Cham’
https://doi.org/10.1080/14442213.2017.1370478

Culture Ministry calls for return of ancient Thai artifacts

via Pattaya Mail, 22 Nov 2017:

Bangkok – The Ministry of Culture is speeding up the process for the return of ancient Thai artifacts from overseas. The ministry’s ad hoc committee has called for the repatriation of artifacts that originated from Thailand and recently acknowledged the verification of 14 ancient items currently in the possession of the Honolulu Museum of Art […]

Source: Culture Ministry calls for return of ancient Thai artifacts – Pattaya Mail