Wreck of the 1881 steamship “FRANCIS GARNIER”

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Excavation by the Thai Underwater Archaeology Division. Photo: Pongsatorn Sukhum. Source: Medium.com 20190220
Excavation by the Thai Underwater Archaeology Division.   Photo: Pongsatorn Sukhum. Source: Medium.com 20190220
Excavation by the Thai Underwater Archaeology Division. Photo: Pongsatorn Sukhum. Source: Medium.com 20190220

via Medium.com, 20 Feb 2019: A shipwreck in the gulf of Thailand is identified as the Francis Garnier, part of the Messageries Fluviales de Cochinchine fleet that sailed up and down the Mekong in the turn of the 20th century. The article is in Thai.

หลายครั้งที่เรื่องราวอันน่าทึ่งของเรือจมหลายลำในประวัติศาสตร์ ได้รับการเปิดเผยให้โลกรู้จากความบังเอิญในการค้นพบข้อมูลหรือหลักฐานเพียงแค่ชิ้นเดียว

เรื่องราวของเรือจมเกาะมันนอกก็เช่นกัน ในเดือนกันยายน พ.ศ. 2559 หลังจากได้อ่านรายงานเกี่ยวกับแหล่งเรือจมเกาะมันนอก (MN’51) ของกองโบราณคดีใต้น้ำ ผมรู้สึกสนใจที่จะศึกษาเพิ่มเติมเพราะรายงานนี้มีส่วนคล้ายกับข้อมูลที่ผมค้นคว้าไว้เมื่อหลายปีก่อนเกี่ยวกับเรือ FRANCIS GARNIER ซึ่งเป็นเรือกลไฟสัญชาติฝรั่งเศสที่อับปางในทะเลระยองเมื่อเกือบร้อยปีที่แล้ว ผมติดต่อไปยังอาจารย์เอิบเปรม วัชรางกูร ผู้อำนวยการกองโบราณคดีใต้น้ำในขณะนั้นเพื่อเล่าให้ท่านฟังถึงข้อมูลที่มีอยู่และความประสงค์ที่จะขอร่วมไปดำน้ำสำรวจ ณ หมายนั้นด้วย

Source: [ไทย] Wreck of the 1881 steamship “FRANCIS GARNIER”

Thai historical parks to be free of styrofoam

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Ayutthaya Historical Park. Source: Bangkok Post 20190201
Ayutthaya Historical Park. Source: Bangkok Post 20190201
Ayutthaya Historical Park. Source: Bangkok Post 20190201

via Bangkok Post, 01 Feb 2019: The original headline of the story was terrible (‘Sanitising history’) but the news is in fact a welcome one – a new policy by the Fine Arts Department bans styrofoam food containers from Thai historical parks.

Historical parks and learning centres under the Fine Arts Department nationwide will be free of styrofoam food containers soon under a new environmentally friendly policy.

Anandha Chuchoti, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, has revealed that the department has issued an announcement on reducing and banning the use of food containers made of styrofoam at all historical parks and learning centres under the supervision of the department.

Under the new policy, cooperation has been sought from all the agencies under the department and food vendors operating at any such parks and centres to curb and stop using styrofoam food containers.

Source: Sanitising history | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

[Talk] The Origin of Prehistoric Cattle in Thailand

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Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this fun talk at the Siam Society later this month by Dr. Wunrada Surat. The talk is part of the Pint of Science event and is free with registration. [Disclosure I am part of the organising team of Pint of Science Thailand]

Date: 26 Feb 2019
Venue: Siam Society, Asok
Time: 7 pm (doors open at 6.30 pm)

The origin of prehistoric cattle in Thailand: evidence from ancient DNA

Dr. Wunrada Surat (Department of Genetics, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University)

Cattle have been domesticated in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, for thousands of years, but, the history of cattle domestication in the region remains unclear. To gain some insight into cattle domestication in Thailand we extracted and sequenced DNA from 26 cattle remains, excavated from four archaeological sites located in northeastern and central Thailand, and dated to between 3,550 and 1,700 years before present (YBP) which all belonged to B. taurus. This is the first genetic evidence of when B. taurus was domesticated in Thailand.

More details here.

Millennia-Old Thai Antiquities Returned From US Collections

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via Khaosod English, 17 January 2019: Collectors from the US return 46 artefacts, mostly from the Ban Chiang period, to Thailand earlier this month.

BANGKOK — Forty-six ancient artifacts aged thousands of years have been returned to Thailand from collectors in the United States, the Culture Ministry announced Thursday.

Source: Millennia-Old Thai Antiquities Returned From US Collections

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In year of khon, shall we dance?

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via The Nation, 26 January 2018: As Thailand takes chair of ASEAN this year, it plans to promote Khon dance (which was listed as a form of Intangible Cultural Heritage and with the Cambodian version) through a series of performances and seminars.

Now that Thailand has the rest of Southeast Asia’s attention, it’s preparing to show off

Source: In year of khon, shall we dance?

Masked dance tradition rises from near extinction in Cambodia

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Dancers perform masked theatre known as Lakhon Khol which was recently listed by UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, as an intangible cultural heritage, along with neighbouring Thailand’s version of the dance, known as Khon at the Wat Svay Andet buddhist temple in Kandal province, Cambodia, December 16, 2018. Picture taken December 16, 2018. Source: REUTERS/Samrang Pring 20190104

via Reuters in the Bangkok Post, 04 Jan 2019: The listing of the Khon dances of Cambodia and Thailand are welcome, but the tradition still is in danger of dying out if new generations do not learn the craft.

Cambodia’s centuries-old tradition of masked dance was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge’s “Killing Fields” regime, but a handful of artists managed to keep it alive and are now working to pass it along to a new generation.

Sun Rithy’s father and grandfather were both performers of the Lakhon Khol masked dance, but the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge — who scorned most art as decadent — banned its study when he was a child in the 1970s.

Now 48, Sun Rithy leads one of the last Lakhon Khol troupes in Cambodia, made up of about 20 performers and students aged six to 15. For him, teaching a new generation is a matter of survival for the tradition.

“I don’t want Lakhon Khol … to go extinct,” Sun Rithy told Reuters.

Lakhon Khol was recently listed by Unesco, the United Nations’ cultural agency, as intangible cultural heritage, along with neighbouring Thailand’s version of the dance, known as khon.

Source: Masked dance tradition rises from near extinction in Cambodia | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

Intangible heritage stands up to scrutiny

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via Bangkok Post, 15 December 2018: A friend from Unesco Bangkok pens this opinion piece about the inscription of the masked Khon dances from Cambodia and Thailand into the Intagible Cultural Heritage list.

That said, what is most interesting in the value of masked dance about Ramayana is not how beautiful they are as art forms, or how they are made prize possessions of countries in the nomination process. Instead, they are most interesting as local traditions that are still viable to many different communities across the region, so all of them practise and pass on the skills and passion to the next generation. These masked dance variations have survived until today, thanks to the stewardship of local community

Source: Intangible heritage stands up to scrutiny | Bangkok Post: opinion

Rare Bencharong goes on display at River City

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via Bangkok Post, 06 December 2018: An exhibition on Bencharong ceramics in Bangkok.

Bencharong, a distinctive variety of enamelled porcelain made primarily for Siamese royalty of the Chakri Dynasty between the late 18th and early 20th centuries, never fails to amaze people for its brilliant colours, wide selection of motifs and kaleidoscopic compositions.

Not to be missed by Bencharong enthusiasts is the exhibition tilted “Bencharong Journey: From China To Siam”, the first of its kind to be held in Thailand since 1977. The show will take place at RCB Auctions, 4th floor, River City Bangkok.

The Bencharong event, which runs from Saturday, Dec 8, will be curated by ceramics historian Dawn F. Rooney, who is also a scholar and art historian specialising in Southeast Asia, having authored nine books on the art and culture of the region.

Source: Rare Bencharong goes on display at River City | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

Ayutthaya World Heritage celebration scheduled during 7-16 December

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via Pattaya Mail, 01 December 2018:

Ayutthaya – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to celebrate Ayutthaya World Heritage from 7-16 December 2018 at the Ayutthaya historical park. Deputy TAT Governor for Domestic Marketing Noppadon Pakprot said the agency has joined hands with Ayutthaya province, government agencies, and private companies to organize the event, which will be held for the […]

Source: Ayutthaya World Heritage celebration scheduled during 7-16 December – Pattaya Mail