Call for Papers

We are accepting proposals for paper presentations for SPAFACON2019 until February 22, 2019. You may choose to present your paper in the general session, or in one of the thematic sessions below.

  • A person is allowed to be the main presenter for only one paper (but can be listed as a co-author on more than one papers). Thus, no scheduling changes will be entertained for reason of conflicting presentation times.
  • Papers will first be proposed and reviewed by the session convener, before being reviewed by the academic committee.
  • Sessions may be collapsed or expanded according to the demand.
  • Registration for the conference will open in December. Registration fees are expected to be similar to the previous conference.
  • All proposals should be in English. You are also encouraged to include an abstract in the appropriate local (Southeast Asian) language.

Proposed sessions

S01 New Directions in Southeast Asian Archaeology (General Session)

Convener: Stephen Acabado

Archaeological findings in the last two decades have forced the rethinking of dominant historical narratives in Southeast Asia. Since archaeology frames its investigation through materially based inquiry, the discipline is able to provide a more nuanced understanding of the dynamism of history. In this panel, we bring together a group of archaeologists whose research findings have contributed to the critiquing of dominant historical narratives and current archaeological models. Discussions focus on methodological and methodological aspects of the contemporary practice of archaeology that provide a broader treatment of archaeological processes. Papers in this panel include themes that touch on the peopling of island Southeast Asia and the Pacific, climatic fluctuations, Early Modern Period, and indigenous responses to colonialism.

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S02 Music Archaeology of Southeast Asia

Convener: Arsenio Nicolas

This session will highlight recent research work on the music archaeology of Southeast Asia. Papers may include on excavated sites with musical artefact, studies on mural paintings and bas reliefs with musical images, and relations with the music histories of Asia.

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S03 Women digging up the past: on the heels of female archaeologists in Southeast Asia

Convener: Dr. Lia Genovese

This panel explores female archaeologists involved in research in Southeast Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries, to the present time. The panel also invites papers on museum practitioners operating in the region in the same period. Earlier examples involving female geologists would also be welcome. Comparative analyses are also welcome between female archaeologists in Southeast Asia and their female counterparts outside this region. Papers should explore perceptions, treatment, working conditions but also advantages and disadvantages of early and contemporary female diggers. Instances of seemingly incongruous behaviour would also make for interesting presentations. For instance, how to rationalise the intrepid Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), pioneer of Iraqi archaeology and skilled political officer, with her role as honorary secretary of the British Women’s Anti-suffrage League? Proposals on other perceptions of females on fieldwork in Southeast Asia will also be considered. Anyone interested in presenting in this panel, please contact me with your name, email and brief outline of your proposed paper (100 words or so).

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S04 Current state of archaeobotanical research in Southeast Asia

Convener: Nattha Chuenwattana

Since SPAFA's last meeting in 2014, there are significant developments related to archaeobotanical research from a number of archaeobotanical research in Southeast Asia. Most recent progress from archaeobotanical related topics (agricultural technology, crop procession, landscape management, the origin of agriculture, subsistence pattern, etc.) from different geographical areas will be cover in this session. Lastly, this session aims to review the current progress of SEA archaebotanical research, and also evaluate the current status of archaeobotany as a discipline in Southeast Asia.

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S05 Life of Urban and Rural Societies in Ancient Southeast Asia

Conveners: Dong Hoon Shin and Yong Jun Kim

This session aims to bring together researchers from Asia to discuss diverse aspects of Early Asian societies; daily life, health, social institution, ritual landscape and complex relationship between urban and rural societies. The movement of people, goods and resources keep in close connections. It is said that everyone has clear idea on what cities are, but still far unclear how big it should be. Today in Switzerland, urban areas are more than 10,000 inhabitants, while in Iceland, populations of several hundred for urban. Thus this session will touch upon different views on what urban is in Early Asia. Almost all ancient cities had rural origin as gradual evolution process, and then vast non-urban landscape next to them. Comparative analysis on the urbanization as transformation is welcome to this session. One of important aspects between urban and rural societies is ecology closely related with population density. It is common sense that health is an important factor, thus this session will discuss on ecology and health of inhabitant of urban and rural societies. The social aspect on how people conduct their daily lives and keep life values is another important issue. Not only people, goods and resources but also social norms and rituals had been on move between, but there were certain distinction between them. This session is open for social and ritual landscape of urban and rural societies in Early Southeast Asia.

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S06 Ethnoarchaeology in Southeast Asia: Recent Developments and Directions (Special Session in Memory of Dr. William Longacre)

Convener: Rhayan G. Melendres

Ethnoarchaeology is the study of relationships between human behavior and its material consequences in the present. It establishes a link between the present to interpret archaeological evidence of human behavior in the past. Specifically, ethnoarchaeology is doing ethnographic fieldwork among extant societies for the purpose of addressing archaeological questions and interpretations. This session will focus on studies that employs ethnoarchaeology as a research strategy in Southeast Asia in the field of pottery and other specialist craft production, subsistence, settlement patterns, architecture, trade and exchange, and mortuary practices. The session is dedicated to the late Dr. William A. Longacre who passed away in November 2015 in honor of his several decades of work in Southeast Asia specially in the Philippines.

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S07 Epigraphy in Southeast Asia

Convener: Hunter Watson, Nicolas Revire and Kunthea Chhom

Stone inscriptions and other inscribed artifacts are invaluable resources to the understanding of the early history of Southeast Asia. The objective of this panel is to create a platform for graduate students and scholars of epigraphy and palaeography to present their research on any topic relating to ancient mainland and maritime Southeast Asia. As such, presentations dealing with any corpus of inscriptions, scripts or languages, inventories and locations, editions and translations, analyses of contents or contexts, their historical or religious implications, technology in epigraphic studies, or other relevant topics are welcome. The subject of a talk is not limited to archaeology per se, and submissions of presentations which are more philological or linguistic in nature will also be considered. Any type of inscribed artifacts recorded on hard or durable materials would be appropriate, including—but not limited to—inscriptions on stone steles, statues, artworks, coins and medals, seals and sealings, intaglios, metal plates, and temples, monuments or cave walls. Presentations on ancient manuscripts and other forms of less durable written documents which are relevant to the field of archaeology are also welcome for submission.

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S08 The Art of Reverse Glass Paintings in Southeast Asia: A New Perspective

Convener: Catherine Raymond

Rarely considered amongst the religious visual media within mainland Southeast Asian Buddhism, “reverse” paintings on glass used to be very popular throughout the 19th and 20th century. But its origins could be traced as early as the 17th century, while European used to offer high-quality Reverse Glass Paintings, produced in many European ateliers, to the Asian courts. Consequently China quickly adopted this artform which became popular and became part of their export-trade. Through its Chinese “artisanal diaspora” firstly the finished paintings; and in due course, the technologies, materials, and skill-sets for creating Reverse Glass Paintings were re-exported across Southeast Asia. But real popularisation and price reduction to the degree where Reverse Glass Paintings became ubiquitous — displayed even in modest home altars— required technology transfer for locally manufacturing flat transparent glass panes. In comparing the iconography within the neighboring countries of mainland and insular Southeast Asia this panel will question how this popular artform practiced in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia is informing us of various forms of religious practices for popular devotion through Southeast Asia as well as exploring the use of early photographic technique leading to the success of this vanishing artform fast disappearing in the region.

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S09 Production of ornaments as evidence for exchange: raw materials and craftspeople

Convener: Emily Miyama and Kuan-Wen Wang;

Stone and glass ornaments are indicators of exchange between peoples, ideas and materials in past societies. In the last decade, numbers of researches on stone and glass ornaments have increased rapidly in regions of the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and beyond. This is mostly based on the identification of material chemistry and craft production, enabling further exploration on the circulation of raw materials, movement of craftspeople and transmission of technology inter- and intra-regions. This panel welcomes students and scholars to share their recent progress on the study of stone and glass ornaments in the wider maritime Asia, and aims to catalyse key issues in future research.

S10 Current Archaeology in Myanmar

Convener: Scott Macrae, Pyiet Phyo Kyaw and Kong Cheong

The pace of archaeological research in Myanmar has increased significantly in recent years, with a series of collaborative projects greatly enhancing our understanding of the country’s distant and more recent past. The aims of this session are to share some of the results of these various research projects with the broader community of Southeast Asian archaeologists, and to offer a venue that encourages faculty and student interaction. In doing so, the session will celebrate the fruitful relationships that have developed between indigenous and foreign scholars of Myanmar archaeology.

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S11 Current research on lithic industry in Southeast Asia from Early Pleistocene to Early Holocene: Recent significations, interpretations and perspectives

Convener: Hubert Forestier

The study of the Early Pleistocene to Early Holocene lithic technocomplex in Southeast Asia point out a rich variability of pebble/cobble and debitage technology with different knapping methods. In this way the diachronic changes in techno-economic pattern could be connected with the resource use during palaeoenvironmental changes. Forest environment in Southeast Asia may have played an important role in these movements of ideas and technological facts through biogeographical determinism and cultural choices. The objective of this session is to highlight the diversity of lithic technocomplexes (macro-tool vs micro-tool assemblages), their particularity and to discuss of their place in the time scale in prehistoric Southeast Asia.

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S12 Colonial Heritage in Southeast Asia: Current Research, Conservation and Management

Conveners: Nurulnatasha Azman, Liew Sze Haw and Suhana Yusof,,

Initially drawn by the spice trade and jungle products, European influence began to emerge in Southeast Asia as early as the 15th century, and by the 19th century, have established their presence throughout the region. During the 300 years of colonization, Southeast Asia has inherited numerous tangible and intangible cultural heritage that is unique to each locality. However, many of these legacies from the colonial period are fast becoming victims of modernization and globalization. This session aims to reflect on the significance of the unique colonial heritage of Southeast Asia and to discuss approaches in its conservation and management. Researchers and scholars are invited to share their recent excavations and findings in colonial sites, as well as experience and knowledge in the conservation and management of these sites and/or other cultural heritage from the colonial period of Southeast Asia.

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S13 Buddhist Art of India and Southeast Asia

Convener: Asst. Prof. Chedha Tingsanchali

This panel proposes to deliberate upon the growing significance of Buddhist art and archaeology in Southeast Asia while focusing on its relation with Buddhist art in India. The context, thus created for the panel lies within new approaches and understanding of trans-cultural interactions between the two Buddhist realms. The ancient Buddhist cultures across Asia were intimately connected, not only by trade networks, but also through religious, intellectual and artistic linkages. The panel seeks to present ongoing research on the Theravada, Mahayana as well as Tantric Buddhist icons and iconography in Southeast Asia with the special focus on the influence of Indian art.

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S14 The Cultural Relationship Study of Mainland Southeast Asia 2019

Convener: Surat Lertlum

The Cultural Relationship Study of Mainland Southeast Asia 2019 Panel is consisted of the research in various aspect of “common culture” of Mainland Southeast Asia such as religion, art and culture, communication network, the study on human settlement as well as ancient irrigation system, which could be utilized to identify the cultural relation in the past of the region. These studies will enhance the relationship of countries in Mainland Southeast Asia from the research outcome.

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S15 Exploitation of Osseous Materials in Prehistoric Southeast Asia

Convener: Jennifer R. Hull and Thanik Lertcharnrit

Hard animal materials such as bones, teeth, antler, shell and ivory possess mechanical, and aesthetic, properties making them desirable materials for the manufacturing of implements and ornaments. In Eurasia, the earliest evidence of worked osseous materials is approximately 40,000 years ago, in Africa even earlier. In East and Southeast Asia the earliest date is unknown for two main reasons. The first is the lack of organic preservation in archaeological contexts, however the second is a lack of focus on this study area. Pottery and lithics, particularly, have been a focus of the majority of material culture studies in Asia, however there has been an increase in interest in the last several years in uncovering the osseous technology of Southeast Asia, particularly in the Islands and particularly in the Palaeolithic. Studies on the mainland or in later Holocene contexts are yet to come into focus. Ornaments have been a pathway into understanding the importance of osseous materials in Southeast Asian socio-economic contexts as they have an aesthetic quality and stand out in the archaeological record. Implements however, are only beginning to be of analytical interest. There may be several reasons for this. We will welcome papers discussing the identification of, manufacturing, use-wear, morpho-typology, social/economic/cultural interpretations, ethnography, analytical methods, etc. of hard animal/osseous materials from any geographical region of Southeast Asia or time period, in an attempt to draw together a bigger picture of the socio-economic and cultural significance of osseous materials.

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S16 Current Research and New Perspectives on the Prehistory of Borneo

Convener: Hsiao Goh, Mohd. Sherman Sauffi and Darren Curnoe

From the discoveries of ancient stone tools in eastern Sabah dated to ~200,000 years to the uncovering of the “Deep Skull” in Niah, Sarawak, the archaeological records have suggested that the Borneo Island which straddles the equator was home to the early human since Pleistocene times. In this session, we seek to explore and discuss the earliest traces of habitation in Borneo island and further investigate the behavioural evolution of early human of this region during the Pleistocene and Holocene periods. We invite papers that investigate the prehistoric past of Borneo island, especially those papers with a special focus on the timing of early human dispersal, landscape use and human adaptation, cultural and economic transitions as well as the geochronology of the archaeological sites across Borneo Island. In addition, we also welcome papers which consider new scientific techniques and approaches on the prehistory of this region.

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S17 Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage

Convener: Jujun Kurniawan

Disaster risk reduction and management will always have to be considered in the preservation of cultural heritage, whether geological hazards or meteorological hazards, even man-made hazards will always be factual as a threat to cultural heritage in southeast Asian countries. This session is expected to contain creative ideas, conceptual ideas, case studies, theory applications, research reports (laboratories, fields, archives).

S18 Go with the flow! Human-environment interactions in Southeast Asian waters

Convener: Veronica Walker Vadillo, Agni Mochtar and Ligaya Lacsina,,

Seas and rivers have been key factors in the development of Southeast Asian societies from prehistoric times to nowadays, particularly due to their role as vectors for cultural interactions, material exchange, and transmission of knowledge. Since the so-called Austronesian dispersal more than 4,000 years ago, Southeast Asian waters have played a significant role in inter-regional maritime trade networks, such as the silk and spice routes, and continued to attract various merchants to come or pass over during the trade between China and the western world. Despite this, the region's nautical and maritime traditions are often overlooked. The subject is a challenging one, as many activities that happen in or around water spaces seldom leave substantial archaeological traces behind due to the nature of the activities (for example, actions take place on board vessels), or the inaccessibility of the archaeological remains (for example, submerged or silted spaces). In many cases, an interdisciplinary perspective with a focus on human-environment interactions is necessary, as this kind of approach can help set forth more nuanced theories on the relation between social systems and their environment with the use of data from other disciplines such as iconography, ethnography, history, environmental sciences, and so on. Placing the focus on Southeast Asian waters, this session hopes to present a comprehensive view of the ways in which the people from Southeast Asia colonized their watery spaces, from port and harbour infrastructures to nautical technology, as well as religious and/or socio-political activities that took place in or around aquatic spaces. This session invites papers that discuss aspects of nautical technology and seafaring in Southeast Asia and neighbouring regions throughout time, as well as papers focused on socio-political and cultural activities related to watery environments.

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S19 Archaeology in the Gulf of Thailand (special session on Thailand)

Convener: Pakpadee Yukongdi and Noel Hidalgo Tan,

As the host country of SPAFACON, Thailand hosts a wealth of archaeological sites and research that has opened a window into the rest of Southeast Asia. In this panel, we invite papers about new and current research conducted in Thailand. We would especially like to invite Thai archaeologists to showcase the myriad of work conducted within its borders.

S20 Advancements in Southeast Asian Rock Art

Convener: Victoria N. Scott and Paul Taçon,

Southeast Asia still remains one of the least understood regions of the world when it comes to rock art, especially in comparison to the more publicised rock art of Europe, Africa and Australia. Recent advances, however, have propelled Southeast Asian rock art onto the world stage, with new discoveries and dating, as well as diverse conceptual, methodological and theoretical approaches, contesting and diversifying international debates on rock art. This panel showcases the various dimensions currently redefining rock art studies in Southeast Asia, including but not limited to:
  • New site and image discoveries, as well as new age estimates.
  • New conceptual, methodological and theoretical approaches.
  • Anthropological/ethnographic insights.
  • Migration theories and rock art.
  • Conservation and management strategies.
  • Application of new and emerging technologies.
We encourage presentations that tackle key issues and advances rather than site reports.

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S21 Law and Policy in Heritage Management: Perspectives in Ethics and Repatriation

Convener: Steven Gallagher, Kathleen Tantuico,

Southeast Asia is a region known to have been under centuries of colonial rule at certain time periods in almost all of their nations' history. This has eventually led to this region's diverse and extensive pre-colonial and colonial cultural heritage.

Over the last 30 years, the international community, regional and professional bodies, and individual states in the region have announced policies, adopted ethical guidelines and enacted laws intended to regulate the practice of archaeology, manage and protect cultural heritage, encourage sustainability in associated practices, which include the the repatriation of cultural property looted and trafficked during colonial times and continuing to the present day.

This session will include papers which consider aspects of law and policy that provide for perspectives in ethics and sustainability in the management and protection of heritage. These include issues and current developments in the repatriation of colonial cultural property.

Papers may focus on the laws and policies issues involved in the ethics of the protection and management of cultural heritage. These include issues on ownership, repatriation, possession and other topics involving access to and control over cultural property.

Papers should consider issues in South East Asia but may compare law, policy, ethics and sustainability in South East Asia with other jurisdictions.

Keywords: Heritage Law, Heritage Policy, Repatriation of colonial cultural materials, ethics in heritage management, ownership, possession, cultural materials

SESSION 1: Ethics, Law and Policy in Heritage Management Description: This session discusses laws and policies in ethics in Heritage Management. It discusses ethics in sustainable practices for heritage preservation and conservation such as control, policy-making, patents, community involvement, and other relevant issues in managing heritage.

SESSION 2: The Repatriation of Colonial Cultural Materials in Southeast Asia: Issues a d Developments This session will discuss current issues and developments in the repatriation of colonial cultural materials in Southeast Asia. It includes discussions on successful and potential claims for repatriation, as well as issues surrounding repatriation such as ownership, possession, relevance and management

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From Field to Display: Embracing or Limiting Digital Technologies in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Conservation?

Convener: Annissa Gultom and Alan Potkin,,

“That belongs in a museum” (Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade, 1989)

The massive expansion of accessible online digital technologies available today created opportunities and challenges in providing means to connect the past and present. Digital content relevant to historical structures, artifacts and sites combine with the latest new software and hardware are able to create stunning —even disturbing— through virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) realities. Their demonstrable scope and utility applies to such essential subsets of heritage management in preserving documentations for specific research or public use. These advancements will be able to extend sustainable conservation practices for both physical material culture and digital content and improve standards to optimize data sharing and consistency of research outcomes. In another level, digital content can give more ease to incorporate “material and immaterial heritage” into the national educational syllabus. Furthermore, digital means will be able to provide choices in enhancing visitor experience; inclusive means of communication; breakthrough programming; preferable social media; appropriate narrative detail level; and also alternative spheres spaces in cyber or real life;

In the museological professional discourse, digitalizations set fire to questions such as what kind of role should the presence of the real object actually play? How does digital technology demonstrably really able to elevate the greater public’s understanding? Should conventional museum exhibits and archaeological site signage be conscious of overdosing a diverse audience with potentially alienating gizmos?

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S23 Reinventing the Past in Maritime Southeast Asia

Convener: Dr Lesley Pullen

This session explores the reinvention of past theories and designs in the current material art and architecture of the islands and littorals of Southeast Asia. Ideas and objects, originating within this region, or arriving by sea, have long been reused and adapted for differing purposes. With Austronesian traditions underlying most of this Maritime region, and with areas reformed by Hindu Buddhist customs, and later by Islamic beliefs, the notion of the past being reflected in the present has been long established. Such influences are often clearly echoed in the objects being routinely uncovered by archaeologists. Such reinventions are also evident in ceremonies and rituals still imitating an unrelated past. Following the earliest appearances of Arab, Persian and Indian traders into these waters, the later migrations of Chinese clans with their predisposition towards archaism provides one of the most evident cultural footprints.

Individual papers are invited which contribute fresh examples of or insights to earlier theories and designs which reappear at some later date or different location in some reinvented form. Contributors might include archaeologists, art historians or artisans studying or working durable or perishable materials, or undertaking research into one of the diverse cultures within this Maritime region.

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