Sea nomads’ Singapore roots go back centuries

via Straits Times, 28 January 2018: Several clans of Orang Laut (‘sea peoples’) are the indigenous population of Singapore, present before the founding of Singapore by the British. Today they are no longer seafaring and absorbed into the Malay ethnic group.

Singapore News -Ask 62-year-old university lecturer Mohamed Nassir Ismail about his roots and he will proudly declare that he is a “native Singaporean”.

Source: Sea nomads’ Singapore roots go back centuries, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

[Job] Visiting Fellow (Archaeologist) at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre

Archaeology Fellowship at the Nalanda Sriwijaya Centre for Southeast Asian Archaeology! Applications close 31 March 2018 – link below.

The ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’s (ISEAS) Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC) invites Archaeologists to apply for the post of: Visiting Fellow

Primary Responsibilities
Prepare and conduct the annual NSC Field School for undergraduate-level students in a Southeast Asian country.
In-charge of editing and soliciting papers for the Archaeological Report Series.
Conduct and publish original archaeological research on Southeast Asia while at NSC.
Assist NSC in the organisation and management of conferences, workshops and seminars.
Contribute to ISEAS collective research and public outreach efforts.

A PhD. in Archaeology.
Expertise in Southeast Asian archaeology and/or premodern history.
Experience in conducting archaeological excavations or field work in Southeast Asia.
Good organisational and student-management skills.
High level of editorial and writing skills in English.
Ability to speak a Southeast Asian language preferred.
Positive work attitude, great communication skills, and ability to work under tight schedule.

Source: Career Opportunities – ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

[Lecture] Classical Javanese Figurative Sculpture: Examining ornament and style

For readers in Singapore, an upcoming lecture in ISEAS

Classical Javanese Figurative Sculpture: Examining ornament and style
Date: Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Time: 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

About the Lecture
This lecture examines a corpus of free standing Hindu Buddhist figurative sculpture produced in Java in the 9th to 14th century period whose elaborate dress displays textiles with detailed patterns. This surviving body of sculpture, carved in stone in bas relief and cast in metal, varying in both size and condition, now stands in archaeological sites across Java, museums in Indonesia, and beyond. Situated a few degrees south of the equator, the humid climate of Java has ensured that textiles from this period have not survived in situ.

In considering supporting evidence from other regions of Asia, this lecture explores the origins of the medieval textiles depicted on these sculptures, and identifies the types of textiles being represented. It also provides some analysis of specific motifs, such as those on Saiva Buddha sculptures representing tantric iconography.

Additionally this lecture re-examines, through this corpus of sacred sculpture, the impact of the ‘Pāla Style’ from northeast India on the sculpture of Classical Java.

About the Speaker
Dr Lesley S Pullen, is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in art history at SOAS University of London. She was born in Medan, Sumatra and lived in Asia for thirty years. Dr Pullen arrived in London in 1997 and completed at SOAS a Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art, a Taught Masters and in 2017 a PhD. She is currently converting her doctoral thesis “Representation of Textiles on Classical Javanese Sculpture” into a monograph. Her work includes research into the textiles and ornament of India, Central Asia and China, and how these are reflected in Southeast Asian material art. She tutors and lectures on Southeast Asia art history courses at SOAS and the V&A Museum.

Digging up the past: Searching for treasures to unlock more of Singapore’s history

via Channel NewsAsia, 21 January 2018:

With many potential archaeological sites in Singapore that have not been investigated yet, the hope is that undiscovered artefacts can reveal even more about the country’s rich heritage.

Source: Digging up the past: Searching for treasures to unlock more of Singapore’s history

NTU launches Singapore’s first master’s in museum studies and curatorial practices

via Straits Times, 17 January 2018: Nanyang Technological University just launched a MA degree programme in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices.

Singapore News -SINGAPORE – Singapore’s first master’s programme in museum studies and curatorial practices was formally launched on Wednesday (Jan 17) to meet the demand for more experts in the growing arts and heritage sectors that have registered record crowd numbers.. Read more at

Source: NTU launches Singapore’s first master’s in museum studies and curatorial practices, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

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

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