Digging up Hong Kong’s Qing dynasty past likely to delay development needed for its future

via South China Morning Post, 08 June 2018:

The Urban Renewal Authority plans further excavation at the city’s last urban walled village, Nga Tsin Wai, which now faces an uncertain future after the previous discovery of historic foundations.

Source: Digging up Hong Kong’s Qing dynasty past likely to delay development needed for its future

[Job]: Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology)

Application deadline is 10 June 2018. Details and link below.

Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology) (Fixed Term) in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.
The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) is one of the nine University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden (UCM). It is a sub-Department of the University Department of Social Anthropology and is a key resource for University teaching and research, particularly in collaboration with the Departments of Social Anthropology and Archaeology. Its world-class collections attract visiting researchers from all over the world and it maintains an active programme of temporary exhibitions and loans to major exhibitions within the UK and internationally. MAA’s collections are Designated for their national and international importance. For further information about the Museum’s staff, collections, and programmes, see www.maa.cam.ac.uk.

The Museum has embarked on a partnership with the Cambridge Rivers Project, aimed at researching and making accessible the extensive collections of artefacts from Asia for which it cares. Approximately 80,000 artefacts, 50,000 photographs and a rich documentary archive chart Cambridge’s role in archaeological and anthropological research across the continent, from the 1880s and through the twentieth century. The stories they contain are of importance to communities, scholars and publics worldwide as well as in Britain, illuminating the diversity of human experience and creativity, as well as complex shared histories of cross-cultural encounter that MAA is committed to telling. For more information on the Cambridge Rivers Project and its activities, see www.cambridgerivers.com

To support this project, MAA is seeking to appoint a full-time Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology) for one year to work with Senior Curator for Anthropology Dr Mark Elliott, Collections Manager for Anthropology Rachel Hand, and researchers from the Cambridge Rivers Project to document, photograph and research collections from East, Southeast and South Asia, predominantly in the anthropology collections. The role will involve facilitating research access and supporting the work of the Cambridge Rivers Project, maintaining appropriate standards of documentation and collections care, and carrying out research to improve knowledge of the collections.

The successful candidate will have an understanding of and interest in museum collections with a background in Asian anthropology, archaeology or a related discipline, and demonstrated experience of object research. Knowledge of a relevant language is desirable. S/he will have very good IT skills including spreadsheets and basic word processing and experience with collections management systems. Excellent attention to detail and very good written and verbal communication skills are essential as well as excellent organisational skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Source: http://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/17533/

CFP: Global Jars: Asian Containers as Transcultural Enclosures

Global Jars: Asian Containers as Transcultural Enclosures
Academy of Visual Arts
Hong Kong Baptist University

September 8-9, 2018

Few objects are as universal, ubiquitous and multi-functional as a jar. The term ‘jar’ refers to any man-made shape with the capacity to enclose something, and hence jars are part of human experience throughout time and space, regardless of whether they contain matter or a void, food or drink, life-giving medicine or the ashes of the deceased. Yet, as ubiquitous as such containers, storage vessels, urns, and other kinds of jars might be, they may have been studied by archaeologists and anthropologists, but so far remained almost invisible to the eye of the (art) historian. This conference, entitled ‘Global Jars: Asian Containers as Transcultural Enclosures’, aims to make jars of all kinds visible in a variety of spatial contexts.

We invite proposals for papers to be presented at this conference to be held on the campus of Hong Kong Baptist University, Academy of Visual Arts, September 8-9, 2018.

This conference brings together an interdisciplinary team of scholars in the fields of ceramic studies, history and art history to approach the topic of the jar from multiple perspectives. Contributors are invited to consider jars not only as (household) utensils and evidence of lost or present human civilizations but also as artefacts in their own right, as culturally and aesthetically defined crafted goods and as objects charged with spiritual meanings and ritual significance. They understand jars not only as belonging to a single place, but as global or transcultural artefacts in which different cultures meet and merge. The goal is furthermore to examine jars not only as ceramic containers, but as materializing a boundary between inside and outside, content and environment, exterior worlds and interior enclosures; jars not only as things in the hands of makers, users, and collectors, but, in some cases, as understood to possess human-like agency, animalistic or other-worldly powers themselves.

This conference uses art-historical methods to understand jars as transcultural containers that mediate between inside and outside, Asian and non-Asian, local and global, this-worldly and other-worldly realms. Special attention will be given to the relationships between the filling, emptying and re-filling of jars with a variety of contents through time and throughout space and the charging, eliminating and re-charging of these particular objects with different sets of meanings.

Those interested in presenting a paper at the conference should send a proposal of 300 words accompanied by a bio note of 150 words (in one document) as an e-mail attachment to globaljars@hkbu.edu.hk.

Proposal deadline: June 1, 2018.

Selected participants will be notified by June 19, 2018. Final papers are due August 9, 2018.

A substantial contribution to travel costs to Hong Kong and lodging for all speakers during the conference will be provided.

Dr. Anna Katharina Grasskamp

Research Assistant Professor
ACADEMY OF VISUAL ARTS
Hong Kong Baptist University
CVA314, Communication and Visual Arts Building Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

Associate Member
Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context at Heidelberg University
Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies
Voßstr. 2, Building 4400
69115 Heidelberg
Germany

Ancient DNA Study Pokes Holes in Horse Domestication Theory

via National Geographic News, 09 May 2018: Not directly related to Southeast Asia, but may have implications further down the road in relation to when horses first appear in the archaeological record.

A long-held theory on how horse domestication and language spread across Asia has been disrupted by a look at our genetic past.

Source: Ancient DNA Study Pokes Holes in Horse Domestication Theory

Evidence for persistent forest reliance by indigenous peoples in historical Sri Lanka

via Science Daily, 26 April 2018:

Working closely with Wanniyalaeto (Vedda) elders in Sri Lanka during the repatriation of skeletal remains, a team of researchers have demonstrated that while some indigenous hunter-gatherers in Sri Lanka made use of agricultural resources and trade connections with farmers and colonial power structures, others continued to subsist primarily on tropical forest resources as late as the 19th century.

Source: Evidence for persistent forest reliance by indigenous peoples in historical Sri Lanka

Underwater survey reveals secrets of Australia WWI wreck off PNG

via Channel NewsAsia, 23 April 2018:

SYDNEY: Researchers Monday (Apr 23) voiced renewed hope of discovering why Australia’s first submarine sank, after a detailed underwater survey of the long-lost wreck off Papua New Guinea led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. HMAS AE1, the first of two E Class submarines built for the Royal Australian Navy, vanished on Sep 14, 1914 near the Duke of York Islands. The disappearance of the sub, carrying 35 crew members from Australia, Britain and New Zealand, was the nation’s most enduring military mystery until the wreck was found in December following 12 previous expeditions. The new survey, conducted earlier this month with Allen’s research vessel the R/V Petrel, used a remotely-operated vehicle to inspect the sub and collect more than 8,500 high-resolution photos and several hours of video footage. James Hunter of the Australian National Maritime Museum, an archeological observer to the US-Australia expedition, said the fresh imagery should help unravel the mystery of what happened to AE1. “We’re not there yet, we’re still looking through all the footage … it’s going to give us the detail that we need that we didn’t have before,” he told AFP. He said the researchers, who also came from the Royal Australian Navy, Curtin University, the Western Australian Museum and the Submarine Institute of Australia, previously only had low-resolution overhead shots of the wreck. “We’re going to be looking for all sorts of clues. Even the seemingly most innocuous clues may actually help us move forward and have a better understanding of what happened to the submarine,” he added. So far, the images that have been reviewed reveal that the sub’s stern torpedo tube cap was open, although it is not known why, Hunter said. AE1, found in more than 300 metres of water, was the first Allied submarine loss in World War I. The sub had joined naval forces assigned to the capture of the German Pacific colonies in 1914. On Sep 14 she vanished after a rendezvous off Herbertshohe – present day Kokopo – near the Duke of York Islands with the destroyer HMAS Parramatta. Retired Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral Peter Briggs said in December the most likely cause of the loss remains a diving accident. Allen’s Petrel was involved in the recent discovery of the wreckage of WWII aircraft carrier USS Lexington off the east coast of Australia.

Source: Underwater survey reveals secrets of Australia WWI wreck off PNG

Hong Kong history: the tunnels where Japanese hid from air raids in wartime – exploring one of the last vestiges of 4-year occupation

via South China Morning Post, 01 March 2018:

Australian-born history buff Robert Lockyer leads tours of tunnels dug into Lamma Island by villagers the Japanese executed afterwards to keep their location secret; his explorations have also uncovered a Qing dynasty fort

Source: Hong Kong history: the tunnels where Japanese hid from air raids in wartime – exploring one of the last vestiges of 4-year occupation

Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific

Via Phys.org, 27 Feb 2018: Linguistic persistence of the Austronesian language despite a change in the population in the South Pacific.

Source: Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific