via Bangkok Post, 15 April 2019: Si Thep and Phanom Rung in Thailand to be nominated for Unesco World Heritage.
Residents in Phetchabun province who oppose oil exploration near an ancient historical site can breathe a sigh of relief after the cabinet approved a proposal to push for Si Thep Historical Park to be granted Unesco World Heritage Site status.
Last Tuesday, the cabinet also approved Phanom Rung Historical Park in Buri Ram province to be registered as such.
Thai delegates will present the registration application for the two sites at a Unesco meeting in Azerbaijan in June, according to Cultural Minister Veera Rojpojanarat.
The approval process is likely to take two years, and Thailand can place both sites on the “Tentative List” until their status is confirmed.
via Bangkok Post, 08 April 2019: Archaeological excavations at Khok Phutsa in Lopburi province.
Sorathach Rotchanarat, an archaeologist from the Fine Arts Department, spent a couple months with his team to dig out the soil and collect evidence to indicate that there was a community living in the area since the New Iron Age, around 3,100-3,800 years ago. The site he most recently discovered is called Khok Phutsa, the newest archaeological site out of 116 that have been excavated in the Lop Buri River Basin over the past 80 years. Khok Phutsa is located about 5km from the King Narai the Great’s Monument, the landmark of the city.
“I was very excited and happy when we first discovered some artefacts last December. So far we’ve found more than 10,000 broken clay pots and other items at this site,” he said.
The excavation of Khok Phutsa started in December last year, after the land owner informed the Fine Arts Department about the discovery of ancient clay pot fragments. Alongside Sorathach, a team of archaeologists led by Pakpadee Yukongdi of the Fine Arts Department, together with Dr Roberto Ciarla and Dr Fiorella Rispoli from Italy, visited the site. The Italian experts worked with the Fine Arts Department through the joint Thai-Italian Lopburi Regional Archaeological Project (LoRAP), founded in 1988 to study archaeology in the Lop Buri River Basin.
via Khaosod English, 04 Apr 2019: Sacred waters will be collected from water sources across Thailand (see here, here and here) and used for the king’s coronation next month.
Rehearsals to draw and transport sacred water for the May coronation ceremony took place on Thursday across the nation.
A rehearsal of the gathering of sacred water from 126 sources across 76 provinces and Bangkok took place today, with the real process to take place on Saturday. A consecration ceremony for the water will then take place on April 18 at Wat Suthat in Bangkok, before the water is transported to the Emerald Buddha Temple next to the grand palace the next day.
In Bangkok, governor Aswin Kwanmuang rehearsed transporting sacred water for ablution by car along a specific route to the grand palace.
According to a book entitled “The Royal Coronation Ceremony” published by the Culture Ministry in 2018, drawing sacred water for ablution is the first step in preparations for the royal coronation ceremony, which will take place from May 4-6.
via Bangkok Post, 01 Apr 2019: One of the sources of sacred waters being gathered for the coronation of the Thai king in May (see here and here). This source is rather unusual, from inside a Buddha statue in Ayutthaya and is considered the ‘sweat’ of the Buddha.
Wat Toom, a local temple in Ayutthaya province, is famous for its ancient Buddha statue, which believers claim to be a source of mysterious holy water.
The temple has recently attracted many visitors as it will be one of the sacred water sources for use in the coronation rites for His Majesty the King next month.
Wat Toom is situated in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district, an ancient town which was a former capital of Thailand until three hundred years ago.
The temple has long been famous among residents who come to worship the bronze Luang Phor Thongsuk Samrit statue.
The upper part of the head of the statue can be opened and taken off, revealing a hollow space on the inside where monks claim sacred water mysteriously drips from.
According to Wichai Sa-nguanpath, a temple attendant, the water leaks out “as if it were drops of sweat”.
via Siamese Heritage Trust of The Siam Society. The Siamese Heritage Trust launched “Heritage Lawyer: Laws for Cultural Heritage Protection” a new publication during the pan-Asia Conference “Heritage Protection: The Asian Experience” 25-26 January 2019.
The book first published in Thai as ทนายวัฒนธรรม: ใช้กฎหมายเพื่อคุ้มครองมรดกวัฒนธรรมชุมชน in June 2017. It summarizes case studies of communities and private sectors that tried to protect their community heritage by using the existing laws. There are both successful and unsuccessful stories. In the last chapter, all laws related to cultural heritage protection are listed as a reference and tool for the public.
The whole project was supported by The Asia Foundation, Professor Kanung Luchai’s Foundation, and Professor William Klausner.
Mrs. Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, President of the Siam Society kindly gave generous support to this English version.
via Siam Rath, 17 Mar 2019: A new exhibition at the King Narai National Museum in Lopburi showcases the recent archaeological findings from the Lopburi River basin, going back 3,800 years. Article is in Thai.
เปิดอย่างทางการไปเมื่อสองวันก่อนกับนิทรรศการความรู้ใหม่จากการศึกษาวิจัยแหล่งโบราณคดีในลุ่มแม่น้ำลพบุรี (New Knowledge from Archaeological Sites in the Lop Buri River Basin) นำเสนอผลจากการดำเนินงานด้านโบราณคดีในพื้นที่ลุ่มแม่น้ำลพบุรีตลอดระยะเวลากว่า 30 ปี ผลงานของนักโบราณคดีทั้งชาวไทยและชาวต่างชาติ ภายใต้ความร่วมมือระหว่างกรมศิลปากรกับมหาวิทยาลัยและสถาบันต่างชาติ อาทิ มหาวิทยาลัยลอนดอน ประเทศอังกฤษ มหาวิทยาลัยเพนซิลเวเนีย ประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกา ภายใต้โครงการโบราณคดีโลหะวิทยาในประเทศไทย (Thailand Archaeometallurgy Project: TAP) สถาบัน Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente: IsMEO ประเทศอิตาลี ภายใต้โครงการโบราณคดีพื้นที่ลพบุรี (Lopburi Regional Archaeology Project: LoRAP) และเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของนิทรรศการพิเศษ “150 ปี แห่งความสัมพันธ์ ไทย –อิตาลี”
via ICCROM, 15 Mar 2019: Free download, with some interesting chapters from Thailand and Malaysia.
Authenticity is a nebulous term within the conservation profession. The concept has historically tended to privilege materials-based approaches to conservation practice over recognizing spiritual and non-material values of a place, however, the drafting of the Nara Document in 1994 marked a shift in paradigm. Considered an important moment in the history of conservation, the Document expanded the concept of authenticity and drew attention to cultural diversity within the heritage discourse.
Although the Nara Document was developed in Asia, regional heritage practitioners have since felt the need to revisit it due to specificities and the challenges they face in conserving heritage. This book addresses the meaning and application of the concept of authenticity in a variety of contexts within Asia, presenting case studies and reflections that examine the relationship between material and intangible values. As the book illustrates, there are some instances where the historical weight of the concept of authenticity poses challenges to actual practice in the region. Sometimes international approaches and obligations may make it difficult to address the specific local cultural circumstances, and alternatively, there are instances where local practices can hinder the work of heritage practitioners in their ability to meet so-called international requirements.
via Bangkok Post, 18 March 2019: In preparation of the Thai King’s coronation in May, sacred waters are being drawn from various sources around the country, including some archaeological sites.
Authorities are boosting efforts to improve the landscaping of two archeological sites in Si Mahosot district of this eastern province where water will be collected from two ponds to be used in His Majesty the King’s coronation.
One of them is located in the Sa Morakot archaeological site inside Wat Morakot. The sacred pond is in front of the largest and oldest of Lord Buddha’s footprints — 1.5 metres in length and more than 1,500 years old.
Officers from the 2nd Infantry Division, Queen’s Guard, have been sent to the site to check the condition of the pond.
Another water source is an ancient pond, called “Sa Kaeo”, which is close to Wat Morakot.