Surface Collection: Archaeological Travels in Southeast Asia (Worlds of Archaeology)

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9780759110182: Surface Collection: Archaeological Travels in Southeast Asia (Worlds of Archaeology)
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Written as a travelogue, Surface Collection: Archaeological Travels in Southeast Asia tackles the most pressing issues of cultural-heritage management in an engaging and accessible way. In each chapter the author makes the past relevant to the present through his encounters with archaeological sites. While the book's anecdotes are associated primarily with Thailand and Indonesia―from a decaying National Museum in Manila, to the search for traces of the thousands of Communists who were killed after an attempted coup in Bali, to the discovery of a bottle of perfume found among the personal effects of Indonesian ex-president Sukarno―they have broad international interest because of the issues they raise. These archaeological stories, again and again, remind us what history both remembers and conceals.

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About the Author:

Denis Byrne is an archaeologist who lives in Sydney. His doctoral project at the Australian National University in Canberra involved an examination of the history and politics of archaeological heritage management in Southeast Asia and Australia.

Review:

In this spellbinding set of essays Byrne has successfully charted a new direction in writing archaeology and heritage. Surface Collection interweaves indigenous religion, politics and heritage ethics in innovative and provocative ways, bringing the unique materialities of Southeast Asia within the large framing of contemporary social archaeology. It is quite simply a tour de force. (Lynn Meskell, Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University)

In part travel book, in part heritage theory, in part a series of fascinating excursions into southeast Asian history, Surface Collection is a wonderful read, but also an important and thought-provoking contribution to the increasingly vital debates about public memory, political violence, and conflicted histories. (Nicholas Thomas, University of Cambridge)

The book relates stories from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Burma in a series of nuanced and elegant travel meditations which are full of unexpected discoveries, conundrums and ironies. . . . Surface Collection is a feast for anyone who values an intelligent and sensitive travel narrative, full of self revelation and the grace of discovery of the other. It is an elegant and vivid travel story infused with a deeply perceptive understanding of the complexities, false leads, contradictions and joys of discovering the past of others and seeing it through new eyes. Denis points out that bearing witness to the past includes bearing witness with our bodies and our emotions as well as our intellect. In doing so on his travels, he gives us a range of extraordinary insights into the hidden and subtle past and present of Southeast Asia. (Historic Environment)

Exquisite and erudite, here Denis Byrne opens a new chapter in archaeological studies. Traces of the past are invested not just with their objective being, but a whole archaeology of feelings electrifies the relationships between the narrator, writingwith Proustian sensitivity, the things of the world, which now have the dignity of major historical players, and you the reader, enchanted by a new way of thinking.... (Stephen Muecke, Professor of Ethnography, University of New South Wales, Sydney)

Exquisite and erudite, here Denis Byrne opens a new chapter in archaeological studies. Traces of the past are invested not just with their objective being, but a whole archaeology of feelings electrifies the relationships between the narrator, writing with Proustian sensitivity, the things of the world, which now have the dignity of major historical players, and you the reader, enchanted by a new way of thinking. (Stephen Muecke, Professor of Ethnography, University of New South Wales, Sydney)

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