Discovering historic Thon Buri

via Bangkok Post, 17 May 2018: Don’t forget! If you want to find out more about the archaeology of old Bangkok, Dr Kannika Sutheeratanaphirom (mentioned in the article) is giving a talk at the Siam Society tomorrow.

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the establishment of Thon Buri as the former Thai capital last year, the Fine Arts Department has been conserving the old walls and moat of Thon Buri. It recently made public its findings about newly discovered archaeological sites in Bangkok, some of which are already tourist attractions.

Source: Discovering historic Thon Buri

[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.

 

Siege Over: Last Residents of Fort Community to Leave

via Khaosod English, 23 April 2018: 🙁

BANGKOK — Decades of legal battles and standoffs, residents of a historic community at one of Bangkok’s two remaining premodern forts have raised the white flag, City Hall said Monday.

Source: Siege Over: Last Residents of Fort Community to Leave

Serbian pair fined after temple ‘legs’ photos spread

via Bangkok Post, 25 March 2018: A pair of Serbian tourists fined for taking inappropriate photos on the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

Two Serbian nationals were yesterday charged with public indecency and fined 5,000 baht each over their taking of inappropriate pictures on the wall of a Phra Ubosot hall in Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, within the precinct of the Grand Palace, said the Tourist Police Bureau (TPB).

Source: Serbian pair fined after temple ‘legs’ photos spread

Cache of old practice bombs found in inner city

via Bangkok Post, 19 March 2018: A cache of dumb bombs, probably dating to World War II were found during construction in Bangkok (pretty close to my office!) a few days ago. The bombs are inert and have been declared safe.

A shopping centre construction site on Ratchawithi Road near Krung Thon Bridge was cordoned off on Monday after a cache of World War II era practice bombs was uncovered by an excavator.

Source: Cache of old practice bombs found in inner city

See also:

Mahakan Fort community loses ‘landmark’ House 99

via The Nation, 09 February 2018: The situation in Bangkok’s Mahakan Fort community looks increasingly worse as the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority backtracks on past promises and demolishes one of the most iconic houses in the 100-year-old community.

The demolition on Thursday of the “landmark” House No 99 in Bangkok’s Mahakan Fort community did not bode well for the remaining 15 antique wooden homes, independent city-planning expert Paranee Sawadirak said.

Source: Mahakan Fort community loses ‘landmark’ House 99 – The Nation

See also:

Observe Thai history on public display, Lego-ised

via Bangkok Post, 08 January 2018: If you’re in Bangkok and you like architecture and Lego, there is an exhibition at the Central Ladphrao Mall featuring Lego-ized versions of Thai monuments and temples.

CentralPlaza LardPrao will celebrate National Children’s Day with a stunning showcase of Lego creations during Lego Amazing Kid’s Day, from Thursday to Jan 18.

Source: Observe Thai history on public display, Lego-ised

Where royal souls reside

via Bangkok Post, 21 December 2017: Built in 1869, Wat Ratchabophit is the symbolic temple of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and one of two temples to enshrine the ashes of the late King Bhumibol (Ramax IX).

Apart from Wat Bowon Niwet, which is King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s symbolic temple, Wat Ratchabophit on Ratchabophit Road is one of only two temples that enshrine his ashes. Since Nov 7, when the temple started permitting the general public to pay respects to the royal remains, many have flocked there for this purpose.

Source: Where royal souls reside

Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth

via NHK World, 07 November 2017: An interesting video story from NHK World about the underwater salvagers who operate in the Chao Phraya River that cuts through Bangkok.

Running through central Bangkok is the Chao Phraya River. On it is the city’s largest floating village, Mittakham. About 300 people live there. The community is estimated to be about 100 years old.

A development project means the community is scheduled to be torn down. Its residents are being forced to move from the river that’s given them their livelihoods for generations.

One of them is 53-year-old Jamroen Bua-Sri. Every day, he puts on a steel helmet and goes into the river to hunt for antiques and other treasures. He’s one of about 40 such divers. The river was a crucial trade route linking the ancient capital of Ayutthaya to China and other Asian countries, so it’s surprising what can turn up.

“My grandfather was a fisherman. One day, he found something in the river, and there were people who paid for it. So he began to search for lost treasures in the river,” says Jamroen. He has salvaged more than 10,000 items. He says this is an amulet from the early Ayutthaya Kingdom period that ended in the mid-1700s. Some artifacts retrieved by the divers have even gone into national museum collections.

Source: Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth – Editor’s Picks – News – NHK WORLD – English