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The Archaeology Programme for Students (APS)

Who are we?

We are the Archaeology Unit (AU) at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC), ISEAS-Yusof-Ishak Institute. The AU is Singapore’s sole national level agency with a dedicated professional archaeology team. ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute is a statutory board under the Ministry of Education. The AU is responsible for excavations in Singapore and runs several outreach programmes for schools and government agencies.

One of AU’s missions is to generate awareness and interest on archaeology as a field of study through our Archaeology Programme for Students (APS). APS aims to expose students and teachers to archaeology and show how it contributes to the understanding of Singapore’s past culture and society.

What do we do?

Archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology, like any social science, requires researchers to collect data. To do so the archaeologist would need to conduct fieldwork to meticulously excavate, record and collect artefacts. Once the excavation is completed, the artefacts are transferred to the archaeological laboratory to undergo processing.  This process consists of the cleaning, sorting, and cataloguing of the finds. It is only through this process that knowledge and discussion can be generated.

Why is it important?

Archaeology helps to answer questions about who we are and where we come from. Singapore’s archaeological endeavours span over 30 years and much of the work has been conducted in the last decade. It is necessary for the results be disseminated to the public, especially to students. It allows the students to appreciate the past and understand that they are stakeholders in Singapore’s heritage.

How it is helpful for students?

Archaeology is a discipline for understanding the past but its practices are also useful in developing observations skills and critical thinking. For example; archaeology

  • Allows practitioners to hone their observation, classification, deduction and analytical skills in relation to their environment.
  • Allows a wide range of skills and knowledge to be applied to understand the past due to its multi-disciplinary nature.
  • Requires a hands-on approach which helps with kinesthetic learning.
  • Helps students generate questions, create hypotheses and reach conclusions based on inference and deduction.

Objectives of the APS

The APS has four main objectives:

  • Nurture an understanding of archaeology as a discipline;
  • Nurture an appreciation of archaeology and history in Singapore and Southeast Asia;
  • Provide an introduction to the various processes in archaeology;
  • Provide an opportunity to learn about other related topics regarding the past which can impact today’s society.

Those interested in the programme are welcomed to contact Mr Michael Ng at michael_ng@iseas.edu.sg.