“It was a dark and gloomy night” on March 29th…….but despite the rainy weather, about 400 people came out to hear Dr. Joyce White’s talk, “Hot Pots, Museum Raids, and the Race to Uncover Asia’s Archaeological Past” at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference in Philadelphia.
Sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, the address celebrated and illustrated the Luce/ACLS Initiative on East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History. This $11,000,000 initiative sought to reinvigorate Asian archaeology at North American Institutions that already had solid track records of scholarship in this specialized subject, as well as provide support to individual scholars early in their careers in Asian archaeology.
Dr. White spoke about the importance of archaeological work in Asia, Penn Museum’s recent archaeological research funded by the Luce/ACLS program, and threats the rich cultural heritage of Asia posed by looting and destruction of sites. Geared to an audience with a wide range of interests – archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and other scholars of Asia, as well as non-academics – the talk generated laughs and gasps, and provoked thought for all who attended.
Joyce White is the Executive Director of the new Institute for Southeast Asian Archaeology (ISEAA), and Consulting Scholar of the Ban Chiang Project at the Penn Museum. See more at www.ISEAArchaeology.org.