Archaeologist wins inaugural Singapore history prize

via Straits Times, 12 January 2018: Congratulations to Prof. John Miksic for his book, Singapore and the Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea!

Singapore News -SINGAPORE – A pioneering archaeologist whose work emphasizes that Singapore’s history goes beyond the landing of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 has been awarded the inaugural Singapore History Prize.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

Source: Archaeologist wins inaugural Singapore history prize, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Survey to pinpoint sites of archaeological interest part of new national heritage plan in Singapore

via Straits Times, 09 January 2018:

Singapore News -Potential areas with archaeological significance could include the mouth of the Singapore River and other sites with ancient settlements and trade activities…

Source: Survey to pinpoint sites of archaelogical interest part of new national heritage plan, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Singapore begins first detailed archaeological surveys on Pulau Ubin

via Channel NewsAsia, 22 December 2017:

SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) and ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS) on Friday (Dec 22) announced the start of the first phase of in-depth archaeological surveys on Pulau Ubin. The surveys started a week ago and are being conducted at two World War Two gun emplacements of Ubin’s Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat (AMTB) battery, which were built north of the island between 1936 and 1939 to defend the Johor Straits. The gun emplacements now reside at a National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) campsite. Surveys will take place in three phases over 18 months, said ISEAS associate fellow and archaeologist Lim Chen Sian during a media visit which was attended by Second Minister for National Development and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee. “Previously there were only pedestrian surveys involving mainly visual inspection, as early as 1949,” Mr Lim added. “Now we have the resources … to figure out what really happened here. “At this stage it’s really about documenting, mapping out, creating an inventory and blueprint.” Depending on results of the first phase, more surveys may be carried out at the gun emplacements or at other sites on the western side of Ubin.  The detailed study of the archaeological and historical remains at these sites will involve fieldwork such as identifying, mapping and recording heritage features – along with basic sampling such as surface collections. Sub-surface probes may also be carried out to analyse areas with a high probability of buried remains. The surveys will complement and add to ongoing cultural heritage and biodiversity research on the island, and serve as a guide for NParks to strategise conservation efforts, according to the agency’s Ubin director Robert Teo. “We will explore the possibility of future public access,” he said. “The idea is to preserve (historical sites like these) for future generations to enjoy.”

Source: Singapore begins first detailed archaeological surveys on Pulau Ubin

NSC Archaeological Reports 7: Archiving Archaeological Materials

A new report available for download from the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre in Singapore by Lim Chen Sian et al.:

ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and the National Heritage Board Singapore conducted a workshop on Archiving Archaeological Materials in 2014. Heritage practitioners and archaeology specialists from the United Kingdom and Singapore were invited to discuss the need to develop an archaeological archive. Related issues in handling archaeological remains were also discussed. Archaeological remains are non-renewable heritage assets. They need to be removed, processed, catalogued, stored, and archived properly for future generations of researchers, educators, the public, and many other global stakeholders. The papers in this volume compile a range of perspectives, approaches, and possible solutions.

Source: Archiving Archaeological Materials by Lim Chen Sian, Duncan H. Brown, Derek Heng, Frank M. Meddens, and John N. Miksic

The Lion City’s Glorious Past

via Archaeology (magazine), 16 October 2017:

That history has now been revised, and the textbooks amended. Largely due to archaeological excavations that began in 1984 and culminated in the island’s largest-ever dig, in 2015, evidence now exists of a fourteenth-century port city that had long been buried under downtown Singapore. Led by American archaeologist John Miksic and more recently by Singaporean archaeologist Lim Chen Sian, a researcher with the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Archaeology Unit at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, these rescue digs were driven by small private donations and passionate volunteers. Through fragments of earthenware, Chinese pottery, Indian beads, and Javanese jewelry, Miksic and others have pieced together a new story—one that pushes the city’s origins back some 500 years before Raffles’ arrival, traces the rise and fall of Singapore between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, and places it in the robust ancient maritime trade network of the region.

Source: The Lion City’s Glorious Past – Archaeology Magazine

Lecture: Ancient Medical Industries in Cambodia and the 2017 NSC Archaeological Field School

Readers in Singapore may be interested in the talk by Dr Kyle Latinis at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre later this week.

Date: 19 October 2017
Time: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Venue:Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

The 2017 Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC) Archaeological Field School recently assisted APSARA Authority with rather incredible discoveries at the late 12th century Tonle Snguot hospital site located in the Angkor Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia. The discoveries included a 2.0 metre guardian statue (Dvarapala) and several rare Buddha statues – one of which may be a “Healing” or “Medicine” Buddha (Bhaisajyaguru).

The Tonle Snguot site is located outside the northern gate of the famed and massive Angkor Thom urban complex. Both Angkor Thom and Tonle Snguot are associated with King Jayavarman VII (1181-1218 CE), a Mahayana Buddhist who sanctioned the construction of 102 hospitals outside the city gates, along major roads, and at different urban sites throughout the kingdom. Our research purpose aimed to understand the nature of the hospital complex. Hospitals included both practical medicine and complementary spiritual healing. Additionally, it is probably no accident that a hospital is located just outside the main gates at Angkor Thom – possibly serving as checkpoints to assure healthy and sane people entered the city.

The Field School involved one week of excavations at the site to train East Asia Summit participants in basic field methods and research design. Other aspects of the Field School included site trips throughout Cambodia and Singapore to incorporate art history, history, historical ecology and several overlapping fields in order to emphasize archaeology’s multi-disciplinary nature. The participants finished their tour de force with mini research projects presented at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.

Source: Lecture: Ancient Medical Industries in Cambodia and the 2017 NSC Archaeological Field School – ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

Lecture: Museums in Southeast Asia: A Brief Cultural History

Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk by Dr Maurizio Peleggi of the National University of Singapore on October 7.

Museums in Southeast Asia: A Brief Cultural History

This talk explores the idea of the museum as a repository of knowledge and tool of nation-building in its global diffusion from Europe to the rest of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum’s various typologies (art, history, natural museum) and statuses (national, colonial, postcolonial) are reviewed in relation to Singapore’s history and the museum boom of the past decade.

Source: HistoriaSG – Museums in Southeast Asia: A Brief Cultural History Tickets, Sat, 7 Oct 2017 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite