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Readers in Malacca may be interested in this double lecture organised by ICOMOS Malaysia on 23 Feb 2019 focusing on the archaeologies of Singapore and Malaysia.

Date: 23 February 2019
Time: 10:30-13:00
Venue: Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre, No. 54-56 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Banda Hilir, Melaka

Organised by ICOMOS Malaysia & ICOMOS Singapore
Supported by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia & NUS Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre

Session 01
Port Settlements & Urbanisation: Historical Archaeology in the Malay Archipelago by Lim Chen Sian

In popular imagination, archaeology is typified by dust-covered individuals excavating for wondrous artifacts from lost civilizations hidden in the jungle or desert. While certainly not factually incorrect, it is a somewhat romantic portrayal of the work and people. Increasingly, archaeologists can be encountered quietly excavating in the city center or a suburban neighborhood nearby. Archaeology is the study of past societies, and the archaeology of urbanization and modern settlements are some of the many themes of research.

Archaeological investigations of port settlements such as Melaka and Singapore are still underexplored and much can be told from the material cultural remains that lay unobtrusively around us. Melaka and Singapore are prominent examples of the long history and evolution of harbors and cities in island Southeast Asia over the past millennium. What does the archaeology of downtown Singapore and Melaka and other port settlements in the Malay Archipelago reveal? What connects these seemingly disparate polities?

This talk looks at how archaeologists study and interpret the distant and more recent past of port settlements, and how the specialized sub-field of historical archaeology is making inroads unveiling new dimensions to our understanding.


Session 02

Ruination in the City: Challenges in Malaysian Urban Archaeology by Shaiful Shahidan

Urban development in Malaysia frequently ignores or relinquishes the need for saving and safeguarding the history of a place. A constant “collision” between conservation values and the need for development, present a continuous challenge in the field of urban archaeology and heritage conservation in Malaysia, as reflected by few cases in the recent past. What are the factors that cause this collision? What is the best approach to balance the development needs and sustainability of heritage within the city? Nonetheless, in recent years, there has been a considerable change in the urban areas, especially among the stakeholders and the public, with increasing mindfulness regarding the preservation and conservation of heritage.

This presentation will feature a problem encountered in archaeological works in urban areas as well as its future sustainability. It will also discuss on few approaches of bringing the local community together to conserve and preserve their heritage, in both urban and semi-urban setting.

Profile of Speakers

Lim Chen Sian is the Vice President of ICOMOS Singapore, and an Associate Fellow at the Archaeology Unit, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. He is a historical archaeologist interested in the transitional period between pre-and-post European contact in Southeast Asia and the development of port settlements, military fortifications, and the material culture of trade. He has excavated in Central America, Burma, Egypt, Java, Kampuchea, Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra. He has been involved in Singapore archaeology since 2002. As of 2006 he led all the major archaeological investigations in the country, and works extensively on lobbying for legislative changes pertaining to the necessity for impact assessments, protection of archaeological sites, and artifact ownership.

Shaiful Shahidan is a Council Member of ICOMOS Malaysia, as well as an ASTS Fellow at the Centre for Global Archaeological Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was a recipient of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship under European Commission and has spent several years of training in field archaeology in Europe and Southeast Asia. He was also one of the expert panels for the Lenggong Valley dossier preparation, before its inscription into the UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the past 15 years, he has been involved in archaeological research in Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, covering extensive research and analysis. His current work focuses on field archaeological project in key sites within the Georgetown World Heritage Sites.

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