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In Memoriam: Prof. Elizabeth Howard Moore (1949-2024) – A Stalwart of Wisdom in Southeast Asian Archaeology

It is with profound sorrow and a heavy heart that SEAMEO SPAFA announces the passing of the esteemed Professor Elizabeth Howard Moore on the 13th of January 2024, at University College Hospital in London. Professor Moore, a luminary in the field of Southeast Asian archaeology, leaves behind an enduring legacy that will forever be etched in the annals of academia. Professor Moore generously supported the SPAFA Journal and SPAFA Conference (SPAFACON), lending her time and expertise to further the understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asian archaeology. Her unwavering dedication to these initiatives has left an indelible impact on the scholarly community, exemplifying her profound commitment to advancing the field.

Throughout her illustrious career, Professor Moore dedicated herself to the meticulous exploration and profound understanding of the rich archaeological tapestry of Southeast Asia, with a special emphasis on the cultural treasures of Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. Her academic journey commenced with doctoral research at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London under the tutelage of Ian Glover in the early 1980s, focusing on circular moated sites in northeastern Thailand—a monumental endeavor that she completed in 1988. In 2014, Elizabeth served as the Chair of the SOAS Southeast Asia Centre.

Professor Moore’s scholarly contributions extended far beyond the confines of academia. Her seminal works, including “Ancient Capitals of Thailand” co-authored with P. Stott (1996), “Shwedagon: Golden Pagoda of Myanmar” (1999), “Early Landscape of Myanmar” (2006), and “The Pyu Landscape: Collected Articles” (2012), stand as testaments to her unwavering commitment to advancing our understanding of the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. Prior to her passing, she triumphantly completed her final opus, “Wider Bagan: Ancient and Living Buddhist Traditions” (ISEAS, 2023), a collaborative effort with Myanmar authors.

Beyond the lecture halls of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where she served as a beacon of knowledge and inspiration for decades, Professor Moore extended her passion for education to actively support and facilitate the academic pursuits of numerous students under her guidance. She served as a visiting professor at the University of Yangon, Department of Archaeology, from 2003 until recently. In 2013, she assumed a visiting professorship at the Kyoto University Center of Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University (ICPR-CSEAS), and was previously associated with the Open Society Initiative at Yangon University.

In retirement as an Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian Art and Archaeology, SOAS (London), Elizabeth remained as active as she had been before retirement. She served as the In-Region Liaison for the SOAS Alphawood Programme (SAAAP). Professor Moore’s commitment to nurturing young talents was further exemplified through her distinguished role as a member of the Alphawood Scholarship selection board. Her pivotal contributions enabled aspiring scholars from the region to pursue academic excellence in the United Kingdom, leaving an indelible mark on the academic landscape.

A fervent advocate for heritage preservation, Professor Moore tirelessly championed the inclusion of Ancient Pyu cites and the historic city of Bagan in Myanmar into the prestigious World Heritage list. Her efforts, spanning decades, have crystallized into an enduring legacy of cultural conservation for generations to come.

As we mourn the loss of Professor Elizabeth Howard Moore, let us remember her not only for her groundbreaking contributions to Southeast Asian archaeology but also for her profound generosity in nurturing the next generation of scholars and her unwavering commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of the region. Her legacy will forever be woven into the intricate fabric of our academic and archaeological tapestry, a timeless testament to her enduring spirit.

Image: Elizabeth Moore speaking at the 2nd SEAMEO SPAFA International Conference, 31 May 2016

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