Rock Art: The Unseen Art of Southeast Asia. A Talk By Noel Hidalgo Tan



In the archaeological narrative of Southeast Asia, rock art barely registers as a significant remnant of the past. Rock art is traditionally perceived as rare and obscure in the region, although rock art research has been growing in recent years and there remains potential for new discoveries to be made in the future. Rock art has long represented humankind’s urge to leave a mark on the landscape, going as far back as 37,000 years ago in the case of Sulawesi (Indonesia) and on a par with the ancient rock art of Southern Europe, what was once thought to be the cradle of human creativity. This talk will provide a fascinating tour of this often mysterious and unseen art - from the more famous sites of Thailand and Indonesia to the lesser known places in Laos, the Philippines and even Singapore. Along the way we will discuss the nature of rock art, the current state of research, and the particular and peculiar challenges faced by archaeologists engaged in its study.

Dr. Noel Hidalgo Tan is Senior Specialist in Archaeology at the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA) in Bangkok, Thailand. He graduated with a PhD from the Australian National University (ANU) in 2014. His main academic interest is in the rock art of Southeast Asia, and his recent work has focused on rock art sites and religious landscapes in Mainland Southeast Asia and the discovery of paintings in the walls of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. He has led rock art research projects in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar and has participated in archaeological projects in Cambodia, Singapore and Australia. Noel also runs the Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog (www.SoutheastAsianArchaeology.com).

Date: Thursday, 9 March 2017
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

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The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2016-2017 Lecture Series.