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Research Tools

The Belitung Wreck: Sunken Treasures from Tang China


This publication presents the main categories of the numerous finds from the Belitung wreck and provides their historical frame.

Photo collage by Rinkoo Bhowmik



Page no.

2 A Ninth-century Arab or Indian Shipwreck in Indonesia (Michael Flecker)
40 History of Shipwreck Excavation in Southeast Asia (Roxanna Brown)
56 Late Tang Ceramics and Asia’s International Trade (John Guy)
74 The Navigational Route of the Belitung Wreck and Late Tang Ceramic Trade (Hsieh Mingliang)
92 The Concept of the Conservation of Seawater Finds (Andreas Rettel)
116 A technological examination of some Chinese ceramics from the Belitung wreck (Nigel Wood)


Gold, Silver and Bronze (François Louis)

132 Gold and Silver – [Introduction]; [Catalogue]
192 Tang Bronze Mirrors – [Introduction]; [Catalogue]
224 The Coins


228 White Ware with Green Décor (Hsieh Mingliang) – [Introduction]; [Catalogue]
300 White Wares of Northern China (Regina Krahl) – [Introduction]; [Catalogue]
350 Green Wares of Southern China (Regina Krahl) – [Introduction]; [Catalogue]
464 Changsha Ware (Liu Yang) – [Introduction]; [Catalogue 1]; [Catalogue 2]
640 Various Ceramics (Chen Yuh-Shiow) – [Catalogue]



Click here to download Appendix I-VI

Appendix I Changsha Bowls
  1. Designs
  2. Inscriptions
  Appendix II Changsha Cups: Designs
  Appendix III Ewers
  1. Medallions on Ewers
  2. Inscriptions on Ewers
  Appendix IV Jars: Appliqués and Inscriptions
  Appendix V Yue Wares: Designs
  Appendix VI Ceramic Forms



Publication details: Copyright © 2004, Seabed Explorations New Zealand Ltd. All rights reserved.


Workshop Proceedings of “The Heritage of Ancient and Urban Sites: Giving Voice to Local Priorities”


Papers from this workshop organized by the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre are case studies from six Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. They range from grassroots initiatives to transregional and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, showcasing how on-site education and cooperation sustain community awareness and participation in safeguarding sites for future generations.

Individual papers can be downloaded below. However, if you wish to download the complete set in one pdf file, please click here (Note: because of file compression, photos in this combined file may have lower resolution than the individual files below).


Building the Notion of Heritage City in Indonesia: the Role of Local Group Communities

Author: Punto Wijayanto

Heritage Preservation and Revitalization in Malang through Activities and Media

Author: Dwi Cahyono, S.E.

Area Conservation Campaign: Muara Jambi Temple

Author: Mukhtar Hadi and the Padmasana Community

Download - nscwps19_early_voyaging_south_china_sea_implications_territorial_claims.pdf


The Fundamental Framework for Activation of Community Participation in Cultural Heritage Conservation

Author: Mizuho Ikeda

Little People in Conservation: Bridging the Divide between Local and International Norms

Author: Pijika Pumketkao-Lecourt

Cross Culture and Cross Border Research And Development: From Living Angkor Road Project (LARP) to the Cultural Relationship Study of Mainland Southeast Asia Research Center (CRMA)

Authors: Surat Lertlum and Im Sokrithy


Cross Culture and Cross Border Education Program: From Living Angkor Road Project (LARP) to the Cultural Relationship Study of Mainland Southeast Asia Research Center (CRMA)

Authors: Im Sokrithy, Surat Lertlum and Khun-Neay Khuon

Download - nsc_working_paper_series_15.pdf

Cheung Ek: Safeguarding Heritage with the Local Community and Government

Author: Phon Kaseka

National and International Joint Research Projects At Koh Ker: Regulators, Non-Regulators and Local Communities

Author: Ea Darith

How to Ensure Sustainable Agricultural Development in Angkor World Heritage?

Author: Tan Boun Suy

Download - nsc_working_paper_series_12.pdf


Development-Led Archaeology in Singapore

Author: Lim Chen Sian

The Challenges of World Heritage Inscription

Author: Nigel Taylor

Between Positivist and Relativist Approach in Recent Community-Owned Architectural Conservation Projects in Singapore

Author: Yeo, Kang Shua


All-Inclusive Participation for Safe-Guarding Cultural Heritage in Myanmar

Author: Sanda Khin

The Role of The Myanmar Archaeology Association (MAA): Why The ‘Grassroots’ Level

Author: Soe Win Naing, Naing Soe and Saw Tun Lynn

Municipal Planning and Heritage: The Future of Cities in Myanmar

Author: Su Su

Safeguarding Cultural Heritage Activities in Myanmar

Author: Ohnmar Myo


Local Voices in Lenggong World Heritage Site, Malaysia

Author: Mohd Syahrin Abdullah

The Pitfalls and Prospects of Community Heritage Engagement in Malaysian Archaeology

Author: Hsiao Mei Goh

The Penang Story a Platform for Intergenerational Community Participation in Heritage

Author: Khoo Salma Nasution

Archaeology Unit: Workshop Posters

Texts by Aaron Kao, Michael Ng and Young Wei Ping


Southeast Asian Underwater Archaeology Research Reports


The following authors have kindly granted the NSC permission to distribute online the following research reports for non-commercial purposes. If you would like to use the information or ideas presented in the report(s) below, please acknowledge the source through the use of proper academic citations.



William M Mathers
, a history major at Yale, served as a US Navy Diving and Salvage officer in Vietnam. After the military, he worked as a marine salvage master in the South Asia. In 1975, he became the operations partner in a marine construction firm building oil terminals, commercial docks and related civil works around the world. Ten years later, he formed PSR to undertake commercial marine archaeological projects in water depths up to 500 feet. His marine experience also includes the ownership and design of ocean-going sailing and power catamarans.

Dr Michael Flecker has excavated over a dozen shipwrecks throughout Southeast Asia over the past 25 years. They date from the 9th to the 19th century and derive from China, Southeast Asia, Arabia and Europe. Flecker consequently specialises in ancient Asian ship construction and trade. For details of these shipwrecks and Flecker’s publications see www.maritime-explorations.com.



Indonesian Metallurgy


Prof. John Miksic has kindly granted the Archaeology Unit permission to disseminate an Indonesian translation of W. Marschall’s (1968) Metallurgie Und Frühe Besiedlungsgeschichte Indonesiens for non-commercial research purposes. The translation by Satyawati Suleiman from the original German to Indonesian was privately commissioned by Prof. Miksic.  If you would like to use the information or ideas presented in the works below, please acknowledge the source through the use of proper academic citations.

[Prof. John Miksic telah memberikan izin kepada Satuan Arkeologi untuk menyebarkan sebuah translasi dalam bahasa Indonesia dari bahasa German, yaitu “Metallurgie Und Frühe Besiedlungsgeschichte Indonesiens” yang ditulis oleh W. Marschall (yang pada awalnya diterbit pada tahun 1968), untuk tujuan penelitian yang non-komersial. Prof. Miksic dulu meminta Satyawati Suleiman untuk menerjemahkan karya tersebut secara pribadi. Jika Anda ingin menggunakan informasi atau ide-ide yang disampaikan oleh karya tersebut, tolong kutipkan sumbernya.]

  • De Loos, D. (1889). Gesteenten En Mineralen van Nederlandsch Oost-Indie Vol. II: Diamant en Edele Metalen. Haarlem: De Erven Loosjes. (In Dutch) (3.95MB PDF)
  • Marschall, W. (1980s). Metalurgi dan Sejarah Kuna di Indonesia / Metallurgie Und Frühe Besiedlungsgeschichte Indonesiens (S. Suleiman, Trans.). Ethnologica Neue Folge Band 4. E. J. Brill: Köln. (In Indonesian; Original German work published in 1968) (15.2MB PDF)


About Satyawati Suleiman
Satyawati Suleiman was an art historian and Archaeologist who became the Director of the National Research Center for Archaeology (Indonesia) between 1973-1977. She was very influential in developing the study of ancient Sumatra, and in particular, of Sriwijaya (the 7th-13th century empire based in Sumatra). For more information, please see:

Wolters, O. W. (1988). “In Memoriam: Satyawati Suleiman, 1920-1988.” Indonesia 46 (Oct.): 123-125.  http://cip.cornell.edu/seap.indo/1107010943

[Satyawati Suleiman adalah seorang sejarawan seni dan Arkeolog yang menjadi Direktur Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional (Indonesia) diantara tahun 1973 sampai 1977. Beliau dikenali sebagai seseorang yang telah mengarahkan dan mengembangkan kegiatan penelitian tentang Sumatera zaman dahulu, dan khususnya, tentang Sriwijaya (sebuah kerajaan yang berbasis di Sumatera diantara abad ke-7 dan ke-13). Untuk informasi lebih lanjut silahkan baca artikel yang diatas.]



Digital Online Thesis Collection


The following authors have kindly deposited these following works with us for online dissemination.  If you would like to use the information or ideas presented in the works below, please acknowledge the source through the use of proper academic citations.


  • Ardika, I. W. (1991.) Archaeological Research in Northeastern Bali Indonesia. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Australian National University. (6.52MB PDF)


Archaeological discoveries indicate that the coastal areas around the villages of Julah, Pacung and Sembiran in northeastern Bali have been involved in long distance trade since at least 2000 years ago. The discovery of Indian sherds, including Rouletted Ware, a rim sherd of Arikamedu type 10, a sherd inscribed with Kharoshthi characters and hundreds of glass beads suggest that contacts between India and Bali were already occurring at this time. The Indian traders might have stopped at Sembiran while trading for spices and aromatic woods from the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago. Sembiran probably functioned as an ancient port located on a major spice trade route.

Sembiran might have also functioned as a manufacturing site, as suggested by the finding of a fragment of a mould for impressing decoration into wax during the production of Pejeng-type bronze drum.

Inscriptional data from the 10th to 12th centuries indicate that Julah (including Sembiran?) had developed as “a gateway community” into northeastern Bali by this time. There was a market in Julah, and also a guild or community of foreign traders. Regulations are mentioned in the inscriptions for those who lived in this settlement, which was plundered at least once and the villagers captured, killed, or dispersed. It is not clear why Julah was eventually abandoned as a port, but rapid alluvial sedimentation and poor security could have been major reasons for its abandonment.

This thesis describes the excavated archaeological data from sites in the vicinity of Julah, most of which date to the first centiry AD, later deposits are present in some trenches. Appendices at the end of this thesis describe the result of pottery and soil analysis, glazed trade ceramics, and the contents of the inscriptions of the 10th to 12th centuries.


  • Edwards McKinnon, E. (1984). Kota Cina: Its Context and Meaning in the Trade of Southeast Asia in the Twelfth to Fourteenth Centuries. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University. (23.9MB PDF)


Over the past three-quarters of a century, the search for the lost Malay kingdom of Srivijaya has evolved through the study of epigraphy, historical sources, particularly Chinese, and art historical artifacts, to geographical survey and analysis of archaeological materials recovered by excavation. These developments have led to a more complete understanding of both human and natural resources and the environment of the area in which they existed.

Little or nothing was known of Srivijayan period archaeological sites in northeastern Sumatra, an area which historical sources suggest played an important role in east-west maritime trade during the first and early second millennium A.D. Excavation undertaken at Kota Cina thus provides data which help to shed light on cultural and economic in this area during the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, a period in which the name Srivijaya fades from historical sources.

Analysis of ceramic materials, both low fired earthenware and high fired imported stonewares, has proved useful, both as an aid to dating and for establishing physical trading and cultural relationships overseas. The high quality of much of the imported stoneware suggests a high level of prosperity among the ancient inhabitants of the site and infers important connections with the interior, a rich source of natural products such as benzoin, camphor and possibly gold.

Analysis of excavated materials also indicates important connections with both south India and south China and suggests the presence of Tamil and south Chinese communities at the site. The presence of the former may account for the occurrence of Dravidian sept names among the Karo merga Sembiring community in the mountainous hinterland. The existence of a Chinese community in northeastern Sumatra occurs at a time that historical sources indicate increased Chinese maritime activity in the area.


  • Miksic, J. N. (1979). Archaeology, Trade and Society in Northeast Sumatra. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University. (30.6MB PDF)


“By the first or second century A. D. a set of integrated political and economic institutions existed in many ports on a network of maritime trade routes which connected coasts of east Africa, western Asia, India, and Southeast Asia. China independently evolved similar procedures and institutions in her dealings with nomadic groups along with her inland frontiers, and when in about the fifth century A. D. the ports in south China joined in the commerce of the Nanhai (South Seas), China used many of these institutions to regulate this commerce as well. Merchants from the West would have found practices in the Chinese ports to be little different from those already familiar from visiting other ports in the network. This system was still functioning when the Portuguese and other Europeans began trading in the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth century.

Indonesians probably participated in the Indian Ocean network at a very early period. Indonesian products such as camphor, benzoin, cloves, and pepper were important commodities in Indian Ocean markets. Control over foreign trade could provide enormous wealth for rulers, and historical evidence shows that members of elites in maritime Southeast Asia and elsewhere were deeply concerned with acquiring wealth and exotic objects to use as means of maintaining political power.

Historical reconstructions indicate that Sumatran emporia were important commercial centers by the early first millennium A. D. The sources of marketable Sumatran produce lay in the highlands, but there is little historical information regarding the routes by which the commodities were brought to the coastal emporia, and the arrangements between hinterland producers and lowland rulers which governed this internal traffic. This lack of information is to some extent the result of policies which lowland rulers pursued, in their attempt to interpose themselves between producers and foreign merchants.

Archaeological research, still in the initial stage in Sumatra, can contribute to the study of the old commercial system in two ways: by discovering and examining sites of coastal emporia, and by tracing the cultural, political and economic relationships between coastal emporia and their hinterlands. The second goal has not yet been attempted in Southeast Asia. Studies of hinterland-lowland relationships can contribute significantly to reconstructions of pre-colonial Indonesian society, and the role of long-distance trade in the development of Indonesian civilization.

In this study, which focuses on the Deli River valley of northeast Sumatra, [the author uses] historical, geomorphological and archaeological information to discover places which were important in pre-colonial trade in imported objects, and the extent to which the “gateway city” hypothesis is useful in understanding early Sumatran economic processes. [The author] also make some suggestions for future research in Sumatra to test hypotheses formed on the basis of this data, and consider briefly some ways in which the study of Sumatran civilization can contribute to the broader questions of the role of long-distance trade in the evolution of civilized societies generally.



  • Mundardjito. (1993). Pertimbangan Ekologi Dalam Penempatan Situs Masa Hindu-Buda di Daerah Yogyakarta: Kajian Arkeologi-Ruang Skala Makro. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Universitas Indonesia. (9.46MB PDF)
    • English translation of thesis summary by S. T. Foo (140KB PDF)


Abstract (written by S. T. Foo):
How might people choose certain plots of land for the location of a temple building during the Hindu-Buddhist period in central Java? Would some of these decisions be guided by ecological considerations? Ancient Indian texts, such as the Mānasāra-Śilpaśāstra and Śilpa Prakaśa, which outlined some guidelines for temple construction in India, for example, suggested that land and water potential were important considerations; however, were the builders following such guidelines in central Java? Mundardjito’s regional research, which focuses on the Bantul and Sleman districts of Central Java, looks at whether there are correlations between temple site distribution and natural resource variables (such as terrain gradient, landforms, soil types, and rock types) as well as land potential variables (such as effective soil depth, groundwater availability, and the distance to rivers and/or springs). His research goes on to look at what kinds of variable clusters and site groupings would be produced on the basis of ecological variables alone.

Please note that the indonesian PDF only contains the Summary, Chapter 1, Chapter 7, and segments of the appendix. The AU has translated the summary into English.


Dr. I Wayan Ardika is a senior lecturer at Udayana University’s Faculty of Letters. He has a bachelor’s degree in Archeology from Udayana University and a doctoral degree in Prehistory and Anthropology from Australian National University. He has served as the dean of the Faculty of Letters at Udayana since 2003. He has also served as the dean of the Faculty of Tourism (1999-2001), head of postgraduate program on tourism (2001-2003) and has served in the post-graduate program on cultural studies (head, 2001-2003; secretary, 1996-1999).

Dr. E. Edwards McKinnon is an Associate Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, ISEAS – Yusof-Ishak Institute. He has received a PhD. and an M. A. from Cornell University and is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, London. A long term resident in Indonesia, he is concerned with cultural heritage management and conservation and has written on art historical and archaeological subjects relating to Sumatra, west Java and Kalimantan, in particular archaeological ceramics, Buddhist imagery in Kutei and early Islamic tombs in Aceh.  His current research interests are mediaeval south Indian relationships with Sumatra, the pre-sultanate archaeology of Aceh and arrival of Islam as well as the historical impact of seismic events in the Aceh region.

Dr. John Miksic is an Associate Senior Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, ISEAS – Yusof-Ishak Institute. He is also Associate Professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.  As a student Dr. Miksic joined archaeological expeditions to northern Canada and Honduras, but over the last 40 years he has been based in Southeast Asia, conducting archaeological and historical investigations in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma and Cambodia.  He is a widely-published author with key works including: Archaeological research on the “Forbidden Hill” of Singapore: excavations at Fort Canning (1985); Borobudur: golden tales of the Buddhas (1990); Old Javanese Gold (2010); Earthenware in Southeast Asia (2003); Early Singapore 1300s-1819: Evidence in maps, texts and artefacts (ed. with Cheryl-Ann Low) (2004); and the Historical Dictionary of Ancient Southeast Asia (2007). His interests include early Buddhist artifacts and monuments; ceramics of China and Southeast Asia; gold; urbanization; and maritime trade.”

Prof. Dr. Mundardjito is currently Guru Besar Luar Biasa at the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Indonesia.  He was one of the founding members of Ikatan Ahli Arkeologi Indonesia (IAAI) in 1976 and has also written important works on Borobudur and its vicinity and regarding Trowulan and the Majapahit kingdom.  Specializing in landscape and ecological archaeology, he was also involved in the implementation of an Indonesian Archaeological Code of Ethics, which was passed by the IAAI Congress in 2005.  He received the Achmad Bakrie award for Social Thinker of the Year in 2014.


Recorded Lectures


NSC Lecture Series

1819 and Before: Singapore’s Pasts
In commemoration of the bicentennial of Stamford Raffles’s establishment of an East India Company settlement on Singapore in 1819, the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC), at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, has organised a special lecture series entitled ‘1819 and Before: Singapore’s Pasts’. This seminar series aims to introduce the premodern and early history of Singapore, and to locate it in the broader region. 

The Khmer Empire and Its Road Network by Dr. Ea Darith (12 Feb 2015)
Dr. Ea Darith gives an overview of the development of the Khmer Empire and The Living Angkor Road Project (LARP), a Cambodian–Thai joint research project. LARP has been conducting research along the said road since 2005. The team has already identified 32 ancient bridges, 385 water structures, 134 temples, 17 rest houses, 8 hospitals, a number of iron smelting sites, hundreds of stoneware ceramic kilns, and many habitation sites.

The Tombstones of Lamreh (Ancient Lamri) by Dr. E. Edwards McKinnon (4 March 2015)
Dr. E. Edwards Mckinnon looks into the prevalence and tradition of Islamic tombstones in Lamreh, Aceh, Indonesia. He suggests that two distinct types of tomb stones–the plain proto-batu Aceh and a distinct so-called plang pleng tradition–may help in understanding the arrival of Islam in the Aceh region.

NSC AU Lecture Series

Pots and how they are made in Southeast Asia by Dr. Leedom Lefferts (13th April, 2012)
Dr. Leedom Lefferts and Louise Allison Cort (Curator, Asian Ceramics, Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution) conducted an intensive study of the indigenous production of earthenware and stoneware pottery by surveying over 200 locations in mainland Southeast Asia (including Southern Yunnan, China, but excluding Myanmar (Burma). They preliminarily charted six types of earthenware and two types of stoneware production across the region and have presented and published over a dozen papers on the subject (some of which are available in digitized format here).

This presentation summarizes their research findings and emphasizes three issues: the nature of the research as “ethno-archaeological method”; “embodied” behavior as indicative of cultural continuity and change, vis-à-vis pot form and decoration (and the difficulties associated with making archaeological discoveries in this domain); and the impact of these findings on the understandings of accepted Southeast Asian linguistic, political, and socio-organizational mapped boundaries. It is through their research findings that they propose a history of technological production behaviors that will begin to provide a nuanced understanding of contact and migration across the diverse landscape that is mainland Southeast Asia.

Same Same, but Different: The Rock Art of Southeast Asia by Noel Hidalgo Tan (31st August, 2012)
Rock art – paintings or carvings on rock, and other similar markings in the landscape – is not immediately associated with Southeast Asia. Because of its perceived rarity and obscurity, it remains one of the least understood archaeological phenomena in the region. Is there much rock art, if at all, in Southeast Asia? Where are they located? What can we learn from them?

Ancient Fansur, Aceh’s ‘Atlantis’: The Case for Lhok Pancu / Indrapurwa by Dr. E. Edwards McKinnon (3rd May, 2013)
Following recent seismological and archaeological research, there is increasing evidence to suggest that the long-lost site of ancient Fansur, a toponym often associated with the Barus region, may be found in the geographically strategically located bay of Pancu, a short distance west of the modern city of Banda Aceh (which is located on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia).

NSC Archaeological Field School Lectures
Ceramics, Technology, Trade, and Culture in Southeast Asia by Dr. John Miksic (30th May, 2013)
Dr. John Miksic gives a general overview to students of how the study of ceramics in Southeast Asia can give insight into production techniques, technological advancements, trade, and culture. This lecture was given in preparation for the students’ involvement with the Cheung Ek Excavation in June 2013, which was led by Mr. Phon Kaseka of the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

Public Talks

Guerilla Archaeologists and the Singapore Story (part 1, part 2 – courtesy of the NUS Museum) by Dr. John Miksic (12 April, 2012)
Most people think Singapore and archaeology are boring subjects, but the combination of the two can be exciting. Since Singapore has no laws covering archaeology, it is possible and sometimes necessary to go about the exploration for new sites in unorthodox ways. The term “underground” can mean something different in Singapore than it does in normal archaeological contexts! In this talk Assoc. Prof. John Miksic will provide an account of the history of archaeology in Singapore since 1984, and its connection with museums.

Raffles, Archaeology, and the British in Indonesia by Dr. John Miksic (24th November, 2012)
During his tenure as lieutenant governor of Java and as governor of Bencoolen, Raffles contributed much to the study of ancient Southeast Asia. This talk focuses on Raffles’ career and his role in fostering the study of the past before archaeology existed, as well as on what we have learned about the British in Sumatra from excavations at York Fort in the 1980s.

What Did Raffles See in Singapore? by Mr. Lim Chen Sian (2nd February, 2013)
Apart from an idyllic fishing village, what greeted Raffles, Farquhar and the early European pioneers when they landed in Singapore? Examining the few extant historical sources and clues from archaeological remains, this talk investigates what Singapore was like before and after Raffles’ arrival.

A Brief History of Singapore Archaeology, 1984-2013 by Dr. John Miksic (5th November, 2013)
This presentation was given during the NUS Press’s launch event for Dr. John Miksic’s book “Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800? at the National Museum of Singapore.

Potsherds, Texts, and Singapore’s Role in Southeast Asian Maritime Culture by Dr. John Miksic (19th December, 2013)
Archaeological research since 1984 has shown that the (Sejarah Melayu (SM))’s depiction of precolonial Singapore was not completely false. Singapore was not the first great Malay port, but for a period of 300 years, from 1300 to 1600, it was a prosperous settlement with local industries. Archaeology shows that Singapore had three roles in the 14th through 16th centuries: a regional centre of economic activity; a link between the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, and the Java Sea; and a part of a larger empire. Temasek/Singapura successfully balanced these roles until 1600, when the island was almost completely abandoned. In “Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea,” Dr John Miksic will tell this story, and also show how the revival of the ancient port in the 19th century was based on belief in the truthfulness of the SM.




  • Tribute Missions to China, 960-1126 – Compiled and researched by Robert M. Hartwell, this file contains tables on the various tribute embassies that arrived at Chinese borders between 960 and 1126. Data include frequency of contacts with various foreign states, the duration of ventures to China, the periodicity of such enterprises, and the multiple functions of “diplomatic” missions.

  • Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu (An open access resource) – This work identifies all of the references to Southeast Asia contained within the Ming Shi-Lu and provides them to readers in English-language translation. In addition to the more obvious Southeast Asian polities of maritime and mainland Southeast Asia, this database also includes references to the many Yunnan Tai polities which have subsequently been incorporated within the Chinese state. The fact that many of these references predate European sources on Southeast Asia underlines their importance to historians of the region.

  • Conference Proceedings of “Penang and the Indian Ocean: An International Conference”(held September 2011) – An institutional initiative to provide an integrated framework to harness the development potential of three core areas: academic, heritage and culture, and business towards transforming Penang into THE secondary city in the region – the choice for the location of a variety of enterprises, attractive to a wide range of groups.


Web links


  • Hong Kong Maritime Museum – With its focus on the South China coast and adjacent seas and the growth of Hong Kong as a major port and shipping centre, the Museum aims to stimulate public interest in the world of ships and the sea, highlighting major developments in, and cross-fertilization through the centuries between, Chinese, Asian and Western naval architecture, maritime trade and exploration, and naval warfare.

  • Museum of Underwater Archaeology (MUA) Resource Centre – is an online research tool initiated by the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, an online museum based in the US which features exhibits, project journals, reports from the field, and guest blogs from maritime archaeologists around the globe. In addition to helping underwater archaeologists publish their work online, the MUA continues to develop tools that assist archaeologists with their research. Their first effort in this regard is the Gray Literature Bibliographic Database. 

  • National Heritage Board (NHB), Singapore – it is the custodian of Singapore’s heritage. It’s mission is “to preserve and celebrate the shared heritage of our diverse communities, for the purpose of education, nation-building and cultural understanding”. (text from the NHB website)

  • Maritime Asia – a useful online resource for those interested in shipwrecks and maritime Asia

  • Curating the Oceans: The Future of Singapore’s Past – by Rachel Leow. This article by Rachel Leow (her personal blog), published on George Mason University’s History News Network webpage, gives some background to Singapore’s acquisition of the Tang artifacts recovered from the Belitung Wreck. She also writes about her experience of viewing ‘the Tang treasure’ in person.


Papers on Indigenous Southeast Asian Pottery Production


A woman making an earthenware vessel in northeastern Cambodia.
(Image courtesy of Dr. Leedom Lefferts)

Dr. Leedom Lefferts and Dr. Louise Allison Cort have kindly granted the Archaeology Unit permission to disseminate a collection of their papers regarding indigenous Southeast Asian pottery production for non-commercial research purposes.  If you would like to use the information or ideas presented in the works below, please acknowledge the source through the use of proper academic citations.

Useful Research Documents

This document is a provisional listing of indigenous earthenware and stoneware production sites surveyed thus far in Mainland Southeast Asia, including Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, listed by country or region of country (in the case of Thailand). The surveys (which were conducted by the authors between 1992 and February 2013) examined and charted the production techniques seen at each site, in order to begin to formulate an understanding of the relationships and discontinuities across these different techniques.

Published Papers




Louise Allison Cort is Curator for Ceramics at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Leedom Lefferts is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Anthropology, Drew University (retired May 2004) and a Research Associate at the Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution. Leedom Lefferts has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations since 1970. He has published on changing household and village living patterns under directed development, ecological systems, material culture – specifically textiles and indigenous ceramic production, and, most recently in Buddhist Storytelling, regional manifestations of Theravada Buddhism in Northeast Thailand and Laos.