Sunken treasure cheer turns sour

Legal battle between a German looter treasure-hunter and his German agent, both based in Singapore. Tilman Walterfang looted recovered a huge cache of Chinese Tang Dynasty artefacts dating 1,200 years in from “the waters between Malaysian and Borneo” (apparently off an Indonesian island). The artefacts have been sold to Singapore’s Sentosa Corp.

14 May 2006 (The Electric New Paper) – Legal battle between a German treasure-hunter and his German agent, both based in Singapore. Tilman Walterfang recovered a huge cache of Chinese Tang Dynasty artefacts dating 1,200 years in from “the waters between Malaysian and Borneo” (apparently off an Indonesian island). The artefacts have been sold to Singapore’s Sentosa Corp. The legal battle aside, the sale of sunken “treasure” is indicative of the extremely low legislative and academic support of archaeology in the region.

Sunken treasure turns sour

Mr Walterfang went in search of the treasure off the Indonesian island of Belitung between Borneo and Sumatra when he first heard of the ancient treasure from fishermen.

What he discovered on the seabed was tens of thousands of Chinese Tang dynasty artefacts dating back about 1,200 years.

It was enough for Mr Walterfang to quit his job in Germany .

In Indonesia, he and his partner, Mr Matthias Draeger, spent millions of dollars to salvage the treasure.

Seven years after their astounding discovery, they sold the treasure to Singapore’s Sentosa Leisure Group for what is understood to be about US$32 million ($50m) last year.

Related Books:

Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure in Southeast Asia by T. Wells

108 Tibetan religious icons on display over Vesak Day weekend

Not strictly Southeast Asian, but Buddhism has strong influences in regional material culture which is why Buddhist artefacts have a strong draw in Singapore.

12 May 2006 (Channel NewsAsia) – Not strictly Southeast Asian, but Buddhism has strong influences in regional material culture which is why Buddhist artefacts have a strong draw in Singapore.

108 Tibetan religious icons on display over Vesak Day weekend

To offer some insights, the Nei Xue Tang Singapore Buddhist Art Museum in Cantonment Road is holding an exhibition on Tsha-tsha.

Tsha-tsha are religious icons found in every Tibetan household.

“Tsha-tsha” is the translation of a Sanskrit word which originally meant “copy”.

Secrets of court lady uncovered

Excavation of a 200-year-old Vietnamese courtier in Ho Chi Minh City.

10 May 2006 (Viet Nam Net Bridge) – Excavation of a 200-year-old Vietnamese courtier in Ho Chi Minh City.

Secrets of court lady uncovered

A semicircular carved wooden plaque was placed atop the coffin, bearing Chinese-Vietnamese script which read ‘Tomb of Court Lady Vo’, and was emblazoned with iconographic designs.

History Museum reveals secrets from Lung Leng

5 May 2006 (Vietnam News Agency)

History Museum reveals secrets from Lung Leng

The National Museum of Vietnamese History is opening an exhibition on May 5 titled Bi Mat Tu Lung Leng (Secrets from Lung Leng) featuring items excavated from the Lung Leng archeological site in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum.

Museum publishes book on rare coins

Book on rare coins published by the National Museum of Vietnamese History.

10 May 2006 (Viet Nam News) – Book on rare coins published by the National Museum of Vietnamese History.

Museum publishes book on rare coins

The book, Treasure of Dai Viet Ancient Coins, introduces Nguyen Dinh Su’s collection, which is assessed as the greatest collection of ancient coins in the country. The collection contains coins circulated about 2,000 years ago

Java Man's First Tools

Preliminary report on new findings on the Java Man that will put associated tool findings as one of the oldest outside of Africa.

21 Apr 2006 (Science) -Preliminary report on new findings on the Java Man that will put associated tool findings as one of the oldest outside of Africa.

Java Man’s First Tools

In 1998, Widianto found stone flakes in the 800,000-year-old Grenzbank layer at Sangiran, whose well-plumbed sediments reach back 2 million years. Then in September 2004, his team struck gold in a layer dated by extrapolation from the rocks around it to 1.2 million years ago. Over 2 months, they unearthed 220 flakes–several centimeters long, primarily made of chalcedony, and ranging in color from beige to blood red–in a 3-by-3-meter section of sand deposited by an ancient river.


Related Books:
Java Man by G. H. Curtis
Java Man by R. Levin, G. H. Curtis, C. Swisher
Java Man: How Two Geologists Changed Our Understanding of Human Evolution by R. Levin, G. H. Curtis, C. Swisher

Central province's ancient stone musical instruments may be exhibited abroad

10 May 2006 (Nhan Dan) – Very short story, with related links on Vietnamese stone instruments.

Central province’s ancient stone musical instruments may be exhibited abroad

The authorities of the central province of Phu Yen was asked to bring two ancient stone musical instruments to an exhibition of the world’s rare stone objects, to be held at the [tag]National Museum of Belgium[/tag].

Artefacts found at 100-year-old temple

8 May 2006 (The Star) –

Artefacts found at 100-year-old temple

Century-old artefacts have been uncovered during digging works at the 100-year-old Da Seng Ngan Temple here.

Ipoh Benevolent Society chairman Loke Yee Fatt said among them were copper statues of the Buddha, porcelain statues of Kuan Kong (God of War), urns, candleholders and chinaware.

Sculpture of Angkor and Ancient Cambodia

The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC has a detailed virtual tour of their Sculpture of Angkor and Ancient Cambodia exhibition. Using VR technology, take a walk through the galleries and click on specific artefacts to get a closer look. You can’t get a really close look, but it’s a good tour to take in the lunchtime.

Although exhibited nine years ago (1997), the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC has a detailed virtual tour of their Sculpture of Angkor and Ancient Cambodia exhibition. Using VR technology, take a walk through the galleries and click on specific artefacts to get a closer look. You can’t get a really close look, but it’s a good tour to take in the lunchtime.

Related Books:
Apsarases at Angkor Wat, in Indian context by K. M. Srivastava
Khmer Sculpture and the Angkor Civilization by M. Giteau

Excavations at Palmer Road / Wang Hai Da Bo Gong Temple

The Palmer Road excavation was something I was involved in earlier this year and the site report can be downloaded from the www.seaarchaeology.com.

I was alerted to this from yesterday.sg – The Palmer Road excavation was something I was involved in earlier this year and the site report can be downloaded from the www.seaarchaeology.com. (See if you can find the unglamourous shot of me scooping water out of the flooded pit and my name in the field crew list!)

The present site of Foot Tet Soo Khek Temple on Palmer Road, sits at the foot of remnants of Mount Palmer where a former colonial military fortification (Fort Palmer c.1859-1915) was once sited. The temple is believed to be one of the earliest Chinese immigrant temples established in Singapore and is certainly the oldest Hakka institution on the island. Unverified anecdotal accounts claim the temple to pre-date the arrival of Raffles. The existing structure dates back to the mid 19th century, and the earliest known record of the temple was depicted in a 1844 map as a “Joss House”.