Visiting Researchers

Dr TAI Yew Seng


Visiting Fellow

Dr Tai Yew Seng is a ceramic archaeologist and specialises in excavating and handling ceramic from kiln sites, shipwrecks, ruins and tombs, and the Southeast Asian maritime trade with China. His current project is on Chinese navigation charts and texts. He was a Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and was involved in the Aceh Geohazard Project which collected and analysed over 52,000 pieces of ancient ceramics sherds. He has taught courses on Chinese culture and lectured on material culture at the Chinese Department at NTU and the National University of Singapore. He has authored a number of papers and book chapters on ceramic archaeology and maritime trade in English and Chinese.

Tel.: 68704552




Visiting Fellow
Dr Michael Flecker has more than 30 years of experience in searching for and archaeologically excavating ancient shipwrecks, specialising in the evolution and interaction of various Asian shipbuilding traditions. In 2002 he received a PhD from the National University of Singapore based on his excavation of the 10th century Intan Wreck in Indonesia. His thesis was published as a book by the British Archaeological Report Series (2002). Other works include the book, Porcelain from the Vung Tau Wreck (2001), contributions to Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds (2010) and Southeast Asian Ceramics: New Light on Old Pottery (2009), as well as numerous articles in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, the Mariner’s Mirror and World Archaeology.

After graduating with First Class Honours in Civil Engineering from the University of Western Australia in 1983, Dr Flecker worked for a Singapore-based engineering company. In 1987 he changed tack by joining Pacific Sea Resources as diving supervisor for the two-year excavation of the 1638 Manila Galleon, Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, in Saipan. In 1992 he established the company, Maritime Explorations, and went on to direct some of the most important shipwreck excavations in Asia including the 9th century Belitung Wreck (Arab dhow), the 10th century Intan Wreck (Indonesian lashed-lug), the 13th century Java Sea Wreck (Indonesian lashed-lug), the 15th century Bakau Wreck (Chinese flat-bottomed junk), the c. 1608 Binh Thuan Wreck (Chinese junk), and the c. 1690 Vung Tau Wreck (Chinese/European hybrid).

Tel.: 68704559


Derek HENG


Visiting Senior Fellow
Dr Derek Heng is currently Professor and Department Chair at the Department of History, Northern Arizona University. He was Associate Professor of Humanities and Head of Studies (History) at Yale-NUS College and previously Head of NSC from January 2014 to July 2015. He specialises in the trans-regional history of Maritime Southeast Asia and the South China Sea during the first and early second millennia AD, and is the author of Sino-Malay Trade and Diplomacy in the Tenth Through the Fourteenth Century (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009). He has also authored a number of journal articles and book chapters on the Chinese material remains recovered from archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, as well as edited three volumes on the history and historiography of Singapore’s past. He is currently working on methods in integrating archaeological data from Southeast Asia with Chinese digital textual databases. He also maintains a keen interest on the historiography of Singapore, and has co-authored Singapore: A Seven-Hundred Year History (Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, 2009), and edited New Perspectives and Sources on the History of Singapore: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach (Singapore: National Library Board, 2006), Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity and Trans-Regionalism, ICAS Series volume 6 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009) and Singapore in Global History (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011).Email:
Tel.: 6870 4553