Category Archives: Laos

Hot Pots, Museum Raids, and the Race to Uncover Asia’s Archaeological Past

Federal agents descend upon the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana during a raid in January 2008

It’s not every day that an archaeologist helps serve a Federal search warrant, never mind one that was part of a 500-officer dawn raid at multiple museums in California and Chicago. The search was for smuggled Thai archaeological artifacts, brought into the US since 2003 and added to museum collections under suspicious circumstances. To get […]

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To Hold in the Heart & Live from the Archives!

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A filmmaker documents her mother’s flight from Laos, archival film from Museum collections help to tell the story.

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Looting Reported at Tam An Mah Cave

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Tam An Mah Cave Buried jar site, Luang Prabang province, Laos “In January 2010, Joyce White, MMAP co-director Bounheuang Bouasisengpaseuth, and other scholars from the United States, Italy, Ireland, Australia, England, Thailand, the Philippines, and Laos conducted a short but intensive excavation at a rock shelter site named Tham An Mah (Horse Saddle Cave). This […]

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Report from the Field: Luang Prabang 1

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In late December 2012, the fourth and final phase of the $300,000 Penn Museum Luce Program to Strengthen Southeast Asian Archaeology begins. Its focus is Luang Prabang Province, Laos, where the Museum’s Middle Mekong Archaeological Project (MMAP) has conducted surveys, test excavations and related multi-disciplinary studies since 2005. Nattha Chuenwattana, a Thai PhD student from […]

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Bon Voyage, MMAP 2013!

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In late December 2012, the fourth and final phase of the $300,000 Penn Museum Luce Program to Strengthen Southeast Asian Archaeology begins. Its focus is Luang Prabang Province, Laos, where the Museum’s Middle Mekong Archaeological Project (MMAP) has conducted surveys, test excavations and related multi-disciplinary studies since 2005. It’s been three years since the last […]

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Penn Museum in Asia

Penn Museum has done archaeological research in Southeast Asia for the past 45 years. I have been lucky to work as an archaeological illustrator for one of the Penn projects, the Ban Chiang Project, since I was a grad student in the Penn Fine Arts School in 1990. Over the years I took on web […]

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Tuk Tuks, Bombies, and Front-loading Washers

After about 60 hours of travel, we made it back to Pennsylvania with all our limbs and luggage in tact. We took a tuk tuk to the Luang Prabang airport thinking we needed 3 hours for international travel even though there are only about 5 departing flights per day. Some of the tuk tuks had […]

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Ping!

Somehow, the ride back from Tham Luong Kwai did not seem as treacherous as the ride in. The loud metallic banging as we bottomed out every few feet did not trigger the same death siren in my head as it had before. I wonder if this is how these brave archaeologists, geologists and adventurers do […]

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Land of Office Plants and Annuals

I slipped on a banana peel walking home from the internet cafe. I’m not sure if this has ever happened to anyone in the past century who was not a cartoon or a vaudvillian with a handle bar mustache. There are little bananas everywhere. They are the perfect size. By the time you get to […]

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Morning in Tham Luong Kwai

The following morning I tried to make my way behind the hog pen and I couldn’t make a single move without triggering the attention of the crowd of children. I searched for a good spot and everywhere I looked was occupied with pigs, chickens, and children. I finally had to rig up a kind of […]

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