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.
The Chao Phraya River has been enlisted in the 2018 World Monument Watch for cultural heritage sites that face daunting risks.
The river that runs through Thailand’s capital city is one of 25 sites placed under the 2018 watch list by World Monuments Fund (WMF), an independent agency devoted to saving the world’s treasured sites.
WMF on Sunday released its 2018 World Monuments Watch, consisting of a diverse group of cultural heritage sites spanning across 30 countries and territories, that face daunting threats ranging from human conflicts and urbanisation to natural disasters and climate change. The list also includes unique conservation opportunities.
In the wake of the devastating floods that have caused much on central Thailand to shut down, and also inundate the old capital Ayutthaya, some experts suggest revitalising the ancient canals to help run off water in times of flood.
Thailand announces ongoing fact-finding programmes to propose five new sites into Unesco’s World Heritage Site list by next year. Among the sites are the ancient cities of Chiang Saen and Suvannakhomkham, which shares Laotian territory; the Lanna kingdom in the north, as well as the Srivijaya-Nakhon Si Tammarat cultural route.
May thanks to Andy for the heads up. The Thai Fine Arts Department is hoping to propose three new sites in Thailand: Lanna, a section of the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok and the Srivijaya ruins in Southern Thailand.