via Kajo Mag, 06 Mar 2019: An overview of jar burials in Borneo.
Today, the act of putting several family members in a large tomb is still practiced by some of the Kayan and Kenyah communities in Sarawak. Except that these large wooden chambers are now made of bricks and look like small, well-decorated houses.
However, the custom of jar burial in Borneo is no longer practiced and have been replaced by the more conventional wooden casket.
My friend Nancy Beavan organised an exhibition at the National Museum in Phnom Penh on her work investigating the jar burials of the Cardamom Mountains. It’s on for a few months, so be sure to check it out!
Burial jars and coffins exhibited at the National Museum in Phnom Penh
The remote and mysterious Cardamom Mountains are giving up some of their secrets – burial jars and wooden coffins – to the public as part of an exhibition that begins today at the National Museum.
After a decade researching the mysteries of the Cardamom Mountain people, Nancy Beavan, a senior research fellow at New Zealand’s University of Otago and an expert in radiocarbon dating, will be exhibiting her findings as part of the “Living in the Shadow of Angkor” project at the museum.
The project seeks to broaden the breadth of understanding of Cambodian history outside of the Angkor period.
The exhibit will be the first time the public can see how the immense project began. In a separate room in the museum, one can see the recreation of the hoard of burial jars and a dozen coffins hidden on a ledge in remote jungles of Cambodia – which have stayed secret for centuries.
The Royal Society of New Zealand has a feature and photo gallery on Dr Nancy Beavan’s (disclosure, friend of mine) work at the Cardamom Mountains, where she investigated a series of jar burials contemporaneous with Angkor.
Chhueng Kan and Tep Sokha working on the jar burial ledge, Phnom Khnang Peurng. Source: The Royal Society of New Zealand 20150911
In the Shadow of Angkor…
The Royal Society of New Zealand, 11 September 2015
The Highland Jar Burial site of Phnom Khnang Peung is the most extensive example of the unique Highland burial ritual that is being studied by Dr. Nancy Beavan from the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of Otago, School of Medical Sciences with a 2013 Marsden Fund award. The 40+ Ayutthaya-sourced Mae Nam Noi burial jars – possibly obtained via previously unsuspected trade connections with nautical traders in the Gulf of Thailand – held a total of up to 152 individuals, representing the largest corpus of skeletal remains of any of the 10 known Jar Burial sites that have been discovered in the eastern ranges of the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia.
My colleague Nancy Beavan as been working for some time now at the Cardamom Mountains in western Cambodia, investigating a series of jar burial sites associated with a little-known culture who were living contemporaneously with Angkor. This news video from VOA Khmer is an overview of the project and the latest finds.
A couple of recent features on Nancy Beavan’s work in the Cardamom Mountains in Western Cambodia (disclosure: Nancy is a personal friend of mine). Stashes of burial jars found in at least 10 sites there reveal an unknown culture who lived in the highlands and had interactions with a declining Angkorian state. [Edit: Alison pointed out that the second article is from two years ago. My apologies, although I haven’t indexed it before so am leaving it here. Thanks Alison!]
Burial jars in the Cardamom Mountains. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150112
The Earth Times reports that the Middle Mekong Archaeological Project has discovered the first instance of a secondary burial in Laos. Read detail accounts of the recent fieldwork in Laos on the MMAP blog.
Secondary Burial from Tham An Mah. Image from the MMAP blog.
Between the Christmas and New Year celebrations, and my two weeks at the field, I didn’t have the time to cover any of the archaeology news that has surfaced in the last three weeks. In Wednesday Rojak style, here’s the quick summary of what’s been happening in Southeast Asia over the last three weeks: Skeletal remains in Malaysia, Digital Reconstruction in Cambodia, Restoration works in Vietnam and a Construction Mess in Indonesia.