The Archaeology Unit (AU) was formed in 2010 and inaugurated by H.E. President S R Nathan in August 2011. Prof. John Miksic was the first Head of the Archaeology Unit between July 2011 to June 2014.
The AU pursues projects designed to foster collaborative research in the archaeology of civilization in Southeast Asia, and its links with its neighbors in Asia. It is a part of the Temasek History Research Centre at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. The AU conducts excavations in Singapore, concentrating on the material culture of the period from 1300 to 1600, but also maintains an interest in the lives of Singapore’s inhabitants during the colonial period of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The AU also collaborates with institutions in the Asia and Pacific regions to conduct research and training, and to disseminate published and unpublished reports on archaeological research.
Exhibitions (related to AU Projects)
Archaeology Unit Gallery
The Archaeology Unit Gallery at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Library showcases the work of the Archaeology Unit (AU) in Singapore and Cambodia. Artefacts from Singapore include those from excavations at Fort Canning Hill, Empress Place, Adam Park, the National Gallery Singapore and the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. From ceramics dating back to the Temasek period to a British WWII ammunition box and anti-malaria pill containers from the Imperial Japanese army, the Gallery seeks to underline the rich history and heritage of the city-state.
The AU also conducted the Archaeological Field School, which has been held in Cambodia and Singapore since 2013. This is part of AU’s efforts to explore cross-border and trade networks in the region. Excavation sites in Cambodia include the Torp Chey (c. 12-15th centuries) and Cheung Ek kilns (c. 5-13th centuries); the Phnom Kulen Royal Residence (c. 9th century) and Sema stone religious sites (c. 8-9th centuries); and Koh Ker (c. 10th century), one of the capital cities of the Khmer Empire.
The Gallery is open to the public during library hours.
Exhibitions (related to AU Projects)
- “Archaeology in Singapore: 30 Years of Uncovering the Past” (28 Oct 2014 – 10 Aug 2015) (National Museum of Singapore)
- Bukit Brown: Documenting New Horizons of Knowledge (19 Jul 2014 – 31 Jan 2015) (National Library of Singapore; Ang Mo Kio Public Library; Jurong Regional Library; Choa Chu Kang Public Library; Toa Payoh Public Library)
- “Digging the Urban Landscape” by Mr. Frank Meddens and Mr. Lim Chen Sian (26th December, 2014, National Museum of Singapore)
- “Archiving Archaeological Materials” (25th November, 2014, National Museum of Singapore)
- “Ancient Fansur, Aceh’s ‘Atlantis’: The Case for Lhok Pancu” by Dr. E. Edwards McKinnon (3rd May, 2013, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies)
- “Research at the Cheung Ek Archaeological Site” by Mr. Phon Kaseka (17th June, 2013, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies)
- “Settlement Archaeology of Late 14th to 17th Century in West Sumatra” by Dr. Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz (24th June, 2013, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies)
- “What did Raffles See in Singapore?” by Mr. Lim Chen Sian (2nd February, 2013, National Library)
- “Presenting Portraiture Series: Chasing the Wild Goose” (21 March 2013, NUS Museum)
- “A Brief History of Singapore Archaeology, 1984-2013” by Dr. John Miksic (5th November, 2013, National Museum of Singapore)
- “Potsherds, Texts, and Singapore’s Role in Southeast Asian Maritime Culture” by Dr. John Miksic (19th December, 2013, National Library)
- Co-sponsored “Patterns of Early Asian Urbanism” Conference (11-13 November, 2013, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, The Netherlands)
- Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Archaeological Field School (2013 cohort)
- Co-sponsored a four-week underwater archaeology fieldwork program at the Clarence (1850) shipwreck for Southeast Asian Archaeologists at Port Phillip Bay, Australia in 2012.
- “Pots and How They Are Made in Southeast Asia” by Dr. Leedom Lefferts (Asian Civilisations Museum Fellow), 13th April, 2012
- “Same Same, but Different: The Rock Art of Southeast Asia” by Noel Hidalgo Tan (PhD. Candidate, Australia National University), 31st August, 2012
- “Guerilla Archaeologists and the Singapore Story” (part 1, part 2 – courtesy of NUS Museum) by A/P John Miksic (12th April, 2012, NUS Museum)
- “The Malay World and Singapore: Archaeological Perspectives” by A/P John Miksic (28th April, 2012, National Museum of Singapore)
- “Perspectives on pre-colonial Singapore geography” by Dr. John Miksic (28th September, 2012, National Library)
- “Singapore Before Raffles” by Dr. John Miksic (20th October, 2012, Archifest Pavilion)
- “Raffles, Archaeology, and the British in Indonesia” by A/P John Miksic (24th November, 2012, National Library)
- “Ceramics in Myanmar: Unexplored Territory” by Dr. John Miksic and Dr. Goh Geok Yian (6th December, 2012, Southeast Asian Ceramic Society)
- “Southeast Asian Underwater Archaeology” (31st May, 2012, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies)
- Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Field School of Archaeology (2012 cohort, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies)
- Co-sponsored the “Ancient Silk Trade Routes: Cross Cultural Exchange and Legacy in Southeast Asia” Symposium at Singapore Management University (27-28 October, 2011)