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Marine Archaeology in Southeast Asia Innovation and Adaptation



Of all the chapters in the book, Michael Flecker’s chapter on the fate of shipwrecks in Southeast Asia is the most pointed, as it was written with specific reference to the Belitung shipwreck controversy; he asked whether there was the luxury of time to even debate the ethics of (legal) commercial salvage operations in Southeast Asia when underwater sites are in danger from lax legal enforcement, local fishermen-turned-treasure-hunters, divers, and deep-sea trawler operations. It is unfortunate that the most vocal opponents to the Belitung shipwreck excavation did not make their voices known at the conference; similarly, their perspectives are not to be found within the book. It should be noted that their concerns over the proper recording and excavation of the site ought to be taken seriously; for their anxiety concerns not only ethical implications, but stems from a longer societal ambivalence with the status of archaeology and archaeologists, as they make an effort to distance themselves as professionals in a respectable profession, doing a public service, from those “treasure hunters,” who may not do the due diligence and gain commercially. The line, however, is not so clear cut; over the last several decades, contract archaeologists in mature developed societies such as those in Australia, Europe, and America have had to straddle this fine line, balancing commercial development interests and heritage management, and one might argue that there is an increasing disconnect and uncertainty between purely academic research and salvage archaeology, and that this controversy merely reflects the growing pains of a maturing profession.

As for the book, it does well to give an alternative viewpoint on public-private partnerships, such as that of the Odyssey Marine commercial archaeology model, as given through the contributions by Sean Kingsley and Ellen C. Girth. While the case studies are not from Southeast Asia, some of the framework may be applicable to the Southeast Asian context, particularly due to the high costs of undertaking an excavation, and the sense of urgency one gets, particularly with regards to the damage from deep-sea trawler operations. It should be noted however that the Odyssey Marine Exploration is a US company has been involved in a few recent legal tussles, particularly in Spain, over artifacts from a Spanish Galleon in the 19th c. (Levesque 2012), and in the United Kingom, over the excavation of HMS Victory (Alberge 2012). The last chapter by Bill Jeffrey and Robert Parthesius, is also a significant contribution to the field as it reflects on capacity building for implementing maritime underwater cultural heritage programs in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, Hong Kong, and Micronesia, and how it might be applicable to the Southeast Asian region.


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Informasi Detil

Judul Seri
Marine Archaeology in Southeast Asia Innovation and Adaptation
No. Panggil
610Gd4
Penerbit Asian Civilisations Museum : Singapore.,
Deskripsi Fisik
203 p.; 17,5 x 25 cm.
Bahasa
English
ISBN/ISSN
978-981-07-1109-2
Klasifikasi
Asia Tenggara
Tipe Isi
-
Tipe Media
-
Tipe Pembawa
-
Edisi
-
Subyek
-
Info Detil Spesifik
-
Pernyataan Tanggungjawab

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