FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2015
Beth Van Horn, ISEAA Public Outreach Director, 215-880-6211
The Institute for Southeast Asian Archaeology (ISEAA) gratefully announces a partnership program with the Royal Thai Embassy (RTE) in Washington DC to initiate a 21st Century Digital Archaeological Archive for Ban Chiang and Thai Archaeology. A fundamental part of any significant archaeological program is establishing the archive for the research program, including field records and the data and analyses that have been created from the studies of the materials after excavation. This archive becomes the permanent record of the site that can then be restudied and re-examined as new questions are asked of the data by future scholars. A well-archived site can contribute to knowledge in perpetuity.
The first step in the RTE/ISEAA program is revamping and modernizing an existing database of Ban Chiang metal data [see http://iseaarchaeology.org/metals-database/ ] The metals excavated at Ban Chiang in the 1970s are world-renowned for opening scholars’ eyes to the potential for Southeast Asia to contribute significantly to understanding ancient metallurgy and the societies that used the technology. This revamped database brings an image-rich, dense link network to those data, facilitating user explorations of Ban Chiang metals evidence.
In the 21st century, archiving an important site like Ban Chiang means the establishment and curation of an integrated digital collection (databases, scanned field documents including notes, plans, registers of finds, photographs both of field work and of artifacts, drawings of artifacts and excavation evidence, and more). A full Digital Archive is a major undertaking and for a site like Ban Chiang is expected to be a large scale, multi-year project. For a comparable digital archive project for a World Heritage Site in Turkey, see Çatalhöyük, Turkey. http://www.catalhoyuk.com/ and http://catalhoyuk.stanford.edu/index.php
Ban Chiang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thailand excavated by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand and the University of Pennsylvania Museum in the 1970s. Analyses and publications of the 1974 and 1975 excavations are now under the direction of Dr. Joyce White, Executive Director of the Institute for Southeast Asian Archaeology and Consulting Scholar at the Penn Museum. Mission: ISEAA is dedicated to the multi-disciplinary investigation of Southeast Asia’s archaeological past in order to advance that knowledge for the benefit of both scholars and the public.
For additional online information on ISEAA, the Ban Chiang Project, and the Royal Thai Embassy go to: