Highlighting Asian Archaeology at the AAS Annual Conference, 29 mars 2014

Highlighting Asian Archaeology at the AAS Annual Conference


Saturday evening, March 29, 5-7 pm, in the Grand Ballroom, Salon H, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel. The event is open to the public.


Dr. Michael Gilligan, president of the Henry Luce Foundation, and Dr. Pauline Yu, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, will introduce the evening’s program and describe the Luce/ACLS Initiative on East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History which, among many other projects, provided support for the Penn Museum’s collaborative research project Investigating Prehistoric Settlement of the Middle Mekong Basin, directed by Dr. Joyce White.

Dr. Joyce C. White, Director of the Ban Chiang Project at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, will speak on « Hot Pots, Museum Raids, and the Race to Uncover Asia’s Archaeological Past, » a presentation and conversation about the prospects for and threats to the region’s deep culture heritage. After outlining some trends in Asian archaeological research, Dr. White will give a behind-the-scenes look at recent archaeology in Laos, as well as recent investigations by the US Justice Department into the smuggling of looted antiquities from Southeast Asia, one of the largest legal cases of this kind to date.

Dr. White’s talk will be followed by a conversation with Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, in which the AAS President will discuss Dr. White’s talk from the perspective of a non-archaeologist, highlighting the importance of archaeology for scholars who study modern Asia from many disciplines. This dialogue will be followed by a Q&A/conversation with the audience.

One important goal of this event is to familiarize people from a wide range of backgrounds with the important archaeological work going on now in Asia and the growing threats of site destruction in its many dimensions: everyone loses when archaeological evidence is destroyed. The formal presentation will be followed by a reception affording an opportunity for the discussion to continue informally.


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