[Talk] Mystery of the Prehistoric Log Coffin Culture in Highland Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son Province

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk at the Siam Society on Thursday by Prof. Rasmi Shoocongdej.

Mortuary practice is an important indicator of past ideology and its analysis can be developed by classifying burials into specific types, a method which can limit our understanding of mortuary variability, particularly the horizontal and vertical scales of social organization. Research in Highland Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son province, on the Thai-Myanmar border, has revealed the unique features of log coffins placed on posts inside caves atop limestone cliffs. The log coffin culture dates to 2,200-1,000 years ago and bears similarities with the hanging coffins of the extant local inhabitants, the Yue, who are associated with the Tai peoples of Yunnan, South China. This talk will present an overview of Log Coffin culture in Thailand in relation to China and Southeast Asia, through a cross-cultural approach. It will also examine the cemetery organization from the Ban Rai Rockshelter and Long Long Rak Cave sites of Highland Pang Mapha, through a temporal and spatial analysis of the archaeological evidence, to assess the stylistic approach and mortuary practice as units of analysis for the symbolic and cultural landscape, cemetery organization and social memory. The resulting analyses will help our understanding of mortuary and social organization of ancient Highland communities and the complex interactions between South China and Southeast Asia.

Source: Mystery of the Prehistoric Log Coffin Culture in Highland Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son Province. A Talk by Rasmi Shoocongdej

[Lecture] Bangkok: Past and Present

If you’re in Bangkok this week, SEAMEO SPAFA and Siam Society are having the annual Capital’s Archaeology Lectures on Wednesday, 23 May 2018 at 18.30 hrs. This year, the talks focus on the archaeology and urban heritage of Bangkok. (Disclosure: I work for SEAMEO SPAFA, and this lecture series is an event I am organising).

The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO SPAFA) and the Siam Society will organize two lectures on the archaeology and urban conservation of Bangkok, as part of SEAMEO SPAFA’s lecture series on the archaeology of the Capitals of Southeast Asia.

  • Archaeology in Bangkok
    Bangkok was found in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty. Nevertheless, historical records and archaeological evidences indicate the dynamic of settlement patterns through time from Ayutthaya period to present (ca. 800 years ago). Nowadays, Bangkok has been changed rapidly through the urban expansion and infrastructure developments. Archaeological studies in Bangkok have started systematically in the past 25 years. All of the archaeological excavations were considered as rescue/salvage archaeology or salvage of archaeological evidence before the archaeological sites were destroyed in order to develop, conserve, or improve knowledge regarding historic activities at these sites. There are more than 30 archaeological excavation sites, which are layered under dense infrastructure. Archaeological excavation project work closely with infrastructure development projects such as the mass rapid transit projects. Very tangible ruins and artefacts were revealed through a systematic excavation. The excavation of Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital is the best example of archaeology in Bangkok, which was conducted while digging to prepare the base construction of a new medical building in 2008. Many artefacts including the remains of wooden boat and ancient city wall were found. Therefore, an archaeological study was conducted in this area for this purpose.
    Dr Kannika Suteerattanapirom is archaeologist and assistant professor of the faculty of archaeology, Silpakorn university in Bangkok, Thailand. Her ongoing research focuses on urban archaeology in Bangkok. She has undertaken numerous archaeological excavation projects in Bangkok. Her current research project entitled ‘state of knowledge of Bangkok archaeology: information, direction and plan of conservation and development in the future’.
  • Rattanakosin: Urban heritage of Bangkok
    “Rattanakosin Island” is the origin of Bangkok metropolitan area. Urban permanence falls under two criteria: tangible permanences, mostly old buildings inventoried as historic monuments, and intangible permanences, ancient urban features that remain in the city today in the form of activities and functions. The Chao Phraya River is the major structuring element of the city since its origin. The river and the three concentric boundary canals, dug successively, have limited and defined Rattanakosin Island, according to the traditional notions of Thai culture and in agreement with the former treaties on military art. The river and the three axes of urban expansion are the major permanence have guided the development of the city since the founding of Rattanakosin to the present metropolis. Today the construction of the road network has lessened the importance of water in the city and led to the disappearance of traditional urban features such as floating markets and clusters of houseboats, but the activity related to the river remains intense.
    Dr. Pornthum Thumwimol is a Landscape Architect of the Fine Arts Department in the Ministry of Culture, Thailand. He received his Doctorate in Architecture from the University of Paris VIII and the Research Institute for Architecture (IPRAUS) in Paris, a Pre-doctorate (DEA) in the Philosophy of Landscape architecture and Master degree in Architecture and Urban Planning, Architecture School of Paris de la Villette, Paris, France and a Bachelor of Landscape architecture from Chulalongkorn University. He has engaged in a wide range of design and planning projects, both in architecture and landscape architecture and received numerous prestigious awards, including The Association of Siamese Architects (ASA) Excellence and Honour Awards for the design of Panumrung information centre (1992). He is involved in the establishment of cultural landscape studies in Thailand and has been a writer and co-editor for several books and articles.

 

Angkor Events at the Asian Civilisations Museum

In conjunction with the exhibition, Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City that is currently on at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, there are a number of associated events upcoming in May and June:

Dr. Miriam Stark to Give Series of Talks in February

Dr. Miriam Stark, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, will give a series of talks at Duke, USC, and UCLA in the month of February. Her research broadly examines examines political and economic transformations in Southeast Asia, with foci on settlement structure and economy

Source: Dr. Miriam Stark to Give Series of Talks in February

[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.

[Lecture] Common Heritage through Ancient Communication Networks in Mainland Southeast Asia

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk by Dr Surat Lertlum on 18 January 2018:

Since 2005, Thai and Khmer scholars have conducted research utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches, including archaeology, anthropology, geo-informatics, geo-physics and information technology, with the continued and generous support of the Thailand Research Fund (TRF). At the outset, the study focused on the royal roads from Angkor. The work of the international team has benefited from the results of remote sensing surveys, which have significantly helped the systematic ground trusting conducted during several campaigns in Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. The team, consisting of experts from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, subsequently expanded the scope of its study to identify the cultural relationships involving Mainland Southeast Asia, based on ancient communication networks. This presentation will be centered on the cross-border, multi-disciplinary research on ancient communication networks in Mainland Southeast Asia, aimed at identifying all the remaining sections of ancient roads and communication networks in the region. The discussion will extend to cities connected by ancient roads and trails, as well as waterways serving as communication networks, revealing physical evidence of cultures interconnected by a complex range of different communication systems and the common heritage that ensued from these ancient networks.

Common Heritage through Ancient Communication Networks in Mainland Southeast Asia. A Talk by Surat Lertlum

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