The most influential books on Southeast Asian Archaeology (a crowdsourced list)

5 Comments

Jump to the list

This list about the most influential books on Southeast Asian archaeology originated with a paper I am preparing for the conference on Decolonising Southeast Asia’s Past. Very simply put, I am trying to understand if there is a difference in archaeological sources in English, compared to what is written in a non-English language (eg. Thai, Myanma, Bahasa). Part of this work was inspired by my experiences with rock art and the difference between what was written in English and what I could find in other languages. For example, the 2001 Handbook of Rock Art Research summarises Southeast Asia in three pages and mentions the presence of about 120 sites – of which only five are named. In contrast, my ongoing research has identified 1,200 sites (see here and here) by incorporating data from non-English sources and papers from less prominent journals. Perhaps once I have my thoughts sorted out I will share it in another post. To understand this disparity better, I put out an informal survey to ask about the most influential books about the archaeology of Southeast Asia:

 

Crowdsourcing the Most Influential Books on Southeats Asian Archaeology

Crowdsourcing the Most Influential Books on Southeast Asian Archaeology

 

This is by no means a scientific survey, but the majority of respondents in my network were archaeologists working in Southeast Asia. While it is not comprehensive, I think there is a good breadth of what is considered to be the  ‘classic’ books on Southeast Asian archaeology. A few books were recommended more than once (notably Southeast Asia from Prehistory to History by Bellwood and Glover).

 

This list is organised by region, then country (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam) and then by thematic subject. Some suggestions that were not directly relevant to Southeast Asia were omitted. I’ve also included links to Amazon and/or the publisher if they are available for purchase (Disclosure: I make a commission if you buy the books through the Amazon links below). I’ll update this list regularly, so if you have a suggestion for other books leave a comment below.

 


Read More

Categories: Books

Archaeologist wins inaugural Singapore history prize

1 Comment

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

Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture: Catalogue Launch at SOAS

2 Comments

Book launch in London this Friday (12 Jan 2018). Register via the link below:

Join us for the UK launch of Vibrancy In Stone, the newly-published catalogue of the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture. The catalogue, supported by the Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme (SAAAP) at SOAS University of London, marks the centenary of the Cham Museum and is the first catalogue by the Museum itself of its world-leading collection. The catalogue brings together the work of international scholars, local scholars and SOAS alumni, and is edited by Vietnamese Museum Director Vo Van Thang, leading Vietnamese art historian Tran Ky Phuong and Peter Sharrock of SOAS.  At the event, the Editors will deliver lectures on their contribution to the publication and consider the background to the text. Copies of the catalogue will be on hand to purchase, and a drinks reception will follow.

Source: Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture: Catalogue Launch at SOAS

Benjarong in detail

No Comments

via Bangkok Post, 05 January 2018: Review of Dawn Rooney’s book, Bencharong: Chinese Porcelain For Siam

Benjarong is the brightly coloured porcelain made in China for the Thai market which enjoyed a peak of popularity in the 19th century. Dawn Rooney sets out to provide “a single reference source for Bencharong … the book I wish had been available when I first became interested in this little-known form of ceramic art 20 years ago”.

Source: Benjarong in detail

Categories: Books Ceramics Thailand

New Book: Peninsular Siam and Its Neighborhoods

No Comments

Announcing a new book entitled Peninsular Siam and Its neighborhoods: Essays in Memory of Dr. Preecha Noonsuk edited by Wannasarn Noonsuk

This commemorative volume contains new scholarly essays that explore the landscape, seascape, complex history, and material culture of Peninsular Thailand and its neighborhoods in Maritime Southeast Asia from the late prehistoric to contemporary periods.

The main contents include:

1. Prologue: The Isthmian Tract and the Gulf of Siam, by Wannasarn Noonsuk

2. Finding a Form, Discovering the Sublime [on the Bronze Drums]by Stanley J. O’Connor

3. People of the Beach Ridges: Tambralinga and Palembang, by John Miksic

4. Transpeninsular Routes in the Light of New Finds in Coastal and Nautical Archaeology, by Pierre-Yves Manguin

5. The Wat Maheyong Inscription (NS 10, K 407): The Thai-Malay Peninsula in the Wide World of Buddhist Material and Cultural Exchange, by Peter Skilling

6. The Northern Malays, by Leonard Andaya

7. Ayutthaya and the Peninsula from the Thirteenth to Seventeenth Century, by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit

8. A Deity Conjured from the Mid-South’s Ancient Heritage, by Craig J. Reynolds

9. Possibilities of Material Culture Approach to History of Thai Urban Lived Religion, by Hiroshi Kano

10. Burmese Wares in Aceh and North Sumatra, by Edmund Edwards McKinnon

11. Epilogue: From Father to Son: A Meditative Journey to “Bead Mound” and Back, by Kaja M. McGowan

This book is published by the Cultural Council of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province in December 2017.  If you are interested in the book, please contact Ms. Leelachat (bigredbear3@gmail.com).

Categories: Books Thailand

New book traces bokator’s historic roots

No Comments

via Phnom Penh Post, 3 July 2017: A new book on the Cambodian martial art Bokator has been published, highlighting its historical significance after its near eradication.

As Cambodia awaits Unesco’s verdict on Angkor-era bokator getting its due as a World Heritage tangible asset of humanity, a new book on the martial art was released three days ago to enhance its historic, cultural and social impact on the Kingdom’s way of life.

Source: New book traces bokator’s historic roots, Sport, Phnom Penh Post

Archaeology books removed from Singapore library, errors on religions cited

1 Comment

Channel NewsAsia, 08 June 2016: A series of Malay-language books named “Agama, Tamadun Dan Arkeologi” (Religion, Civilisation And Archaeology) has been withdrawn from circulation in the Singapore library system among public complaints that the books insulted religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Buddhism, as well as carried factual inaccuracies about these religions. The publisher of the series is based in Malaysia.

All titles under the Agama, Tamadun Dan Arkeologi (Religion, Civilisation And Archeology) series have been withdrawn from its libraries with immediate effect pending review by the Library Consultative Panel, a spokesperson said.

Source: NLB withdraws Malay language books on religion, to review vetting process

Mission to translate old Khmer scripture complete

No Comments

Bangkok Post, 11 June 2017: A Thai kings gift of a Buddhist scripture to the Vatican is finally translated. The scripture, written in Old Khmer, will be displayed in the Vatican museums.

A mission to translate what is thought to be a two-century old scripture from Khmer to Italian, a gift to Pope Puis XI from the late King Rama VII during his trip to Italy, has been completed and is ready to be displayed at the Vatican museum, according to Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangkhalaram.

Source: Mission to translate old Khmer scripture complete | Bangkok Post: news

[Paper]: Pinle (Maingmaw): Research at an Ancient Pyu City, Myanmar

No Comments

A new report published in the Nalanda Sriwiaya Centre Archaeology Report series

Pinle (Maingmaw): Research at an Ancient Pyu City, Myanmar by Myo Nyunt and Kyaw Myo Win

Abstract:
The combined Reports of Excavation at Pinle (Maingmaw) Ancient City highlights the rich heritage of this lesser-known site. Pinle occupies a strategic location bridging the Central Plain of Myanmar and trade routes to Yunnan. Two excavation campaigns and a wider area survey trip are highlighted in the following report. The excavation of a structure from Mound No. 15 revealed one of the finest examples of the complex brick architecture of the first millennium CE Pyu cultures. Various shapes of bricks were adeptly used to create a stepped profile for a stupa mounted on a rectilinear platform. The second excavation identified brick and wall features that were part of a rectilinear entry gate. This particular gate is distinct from those found at other Pyu cities such as Halin, Beikthano, and Sri Ksetra.

Source: NSC Archaeological Reports – ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

Categories: Books Burma (Myanmar)

Tags:

Tang Shipwreck, The: Art And Exchange In The 9th Century

No Comments

From Select Books: A new book on the Belitung Shipwreck and its cargo which is now largely held and displayed in Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum.

Tang Shipwreck, The: Art And Exchange In The 9th Century

This book tells the story and presents the objects found on the Tang Shipwreck, discovered off Belitung Island in Indonesia in 1998, and now housed at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. It is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of recent times. Found at the site was a remarkable cargo of some 60,000 Chinese ceramics dating from the Tang dynasty (618-907), along with finely wrought gold and silver objects, bronze mirrors, and more ordinary objects belonging to the crew. The ten essays in this profusely illustrated volume discuss the ceramics and other commodities on board, the ship’s construction and possible origin, China’s maritime trade in the Tang period, Chinese ceramic production, ports of call in Asia and Southeast Asia, and life on board the ship.

Source: Tang Shipwreck, The: Art And Exchange In The 9Th Century (Select Books: The Asian Book Specialist – Bookseller, Publisher and Distributor)