The Archaeology of Sulawesi (Terra Australis 48)

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Archaeology of Sulawesi by O'Connor et al

via ANU E-press: New free E-book on the archaeology of Sulawesi edited by O’Connor et al.

Archaeology of Sulawesi by O'Connor et al

Archaeology of Sulawesi by O’Connor et al

The central Indonesian island of Sulawesi has recently been hitting headlines with respect to its archaeology. It contains some of the oldest directly dated rock art in the world, and some of the oldest evidence for a hominin presence beyond the southeastern limits of the Ice Age Asian continent. In this volume, scholars from Indonesia and Australia come together to present their research findings and views on a broad range of topics. From early periods, these include observations on Ice Age climate, life in caves and open sites, rock art, and the animals that humans exploited and lived alongside. The archaeology presented from later periods covers the rise of the Bugis kingdom, Chinese trade ceramics, and a range of site-based and regional topics from the Neolithic through to the arrival of Islam. This carefully edited volume is the first to be devoted entirely to the archaeology of the island of Sulawesi, and it lays down a baseline for significant future research.

Source: The Archaeology of Sulawesi (Terra Australis 48) – ANU Press – ANU

Categories: Books Indonesia


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


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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.


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Categories: Books

Archaeologist wins inaugural Singapore history prize

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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

Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture: Catalogue Launch at SOAS


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

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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

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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 (

Categories: Books Thailand

New book traces bokator’s historic roots

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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

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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

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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

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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

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)