A Tale of Two Buddhas: Bangkok, Thailand

In late November I spent a day in Bangkok, transiting between Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Sydney. Bangkok is a city of many temples, and I spent much of my day exploring the temples and sights around the city. Here are two temples with iconic Buddhas in Bangkok. Temple of the Emerald Buddha, The Grand Palace On the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, running north to south through the city, is the Grand Palace . This is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Bangkok, consisting of a complex of many buildings built from 1782 onwards and serving as the royal palace and residence of the King of Thailand and once the administrative centre of the city.  The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is located in the heart of the Grand Palace complex, and is named for the meditating figure of Buddha made of green jasper stone (referred to as emerald for its colour) that occupies the central position in the Wat Phra Kaew temple. The Buddha wears clothing of gold and is sacred in Thailand as the most im

Historical and Cultural Reconnection: Dhaka, Bangladesh

This November I travelled overseas for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Although not a common tourist destination, Bangladesh is the country where I was born and this trip gave me the opportunity to explore the history and culture of my country through fresh eyes. Connecting to my roots and learning about how my family's history is intertwined with the history of the nation was an enriching experience. Dhaka has been occupied for centuries, with initial settlement dating from the first millennium. The city became the capital of Bengal in the early 17th century under the rule of the Mughals, the Muslim dynasty that ruled this area from the 16th to 18th century. In the early 20th century Dhaka was designated the capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam under British rule. In this post I run through some of the highlights of my time in Dhaka, the nation's capital where my family is based.   Bangladesh National Museum The Bangladesh National Museum is located next to

Mungo National Park (NSW, Australia)

After a long break from travelling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and being in the process of completing my PhD, I had the chance in June to take a week off work and travel to a part of Australia I had never been to before. While driving from Adelaide to Melbourne, I visited Mungo National Park in the World Heritage listed Willandra Lakes region in western New South Wales.   Mungo National Park is known for its amazing geological formations, having been one of the lakes in the Willandra area in the Pleistocene epoch (ending 11 700 years ago). The lakes dried in the Late Pleistocene, about 18 500 years ago, and Lake Mungo is famous for being one of the oldest places outside of Africa with evidence for  Homo sapiens.  The roads in Mungo National Park are unsealed and it had been raining a lot recently, so I took a guided day tour  with pick up at Mildura Visitor Centre. The drive into the park took about an hour and a half from Mildura. The tour first drops you off at the Mungo L

A Curated Guide of Museums in Sydney, Australia

The combination of living in Sydney for most of my life and having a keen interest in archaeology, history and material culture, has meant that I have visited quite a few museums around this city. After a lengthy hiatus to finish my PhD thesis, here are some of my favourite museums around Sydney, which are shown on this map.  I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land these museums stand on, which was forcibly seized by colonists and continues to be Indigenous land. Australian Museum The Australian Museum  is prominently located on the corner of William and College Street, across the road from Hyde Park and in line with St Mary's Cathedral further north. The museum building is listed on the NSW heritage register and was the first museum in Australia. The main building was originally constructed in 1849, and has had renovations and expansions over time, incorporating newer architectural styles. Its exhibitions are comprised of natural history, covering a ra

Archaeology and Nationalism

Nationalism is the identification with one's nation and the promotion of the interests of a country. Throughout history archaeology has been used by governments and national leaders for political purposes, serving to unify a nation and its people under a common ideology and narrative of the past. Here are two examples of how archaeology has been entangled in nationalism and used to promote political agendas. Fascist Italy and ancient Rome In 1926, Benito Mussolini established a dictatorship in Italy through his fascist party and emphasised the connections between his party and ancient Rome to establish supremacy. The term 'fascist' links to the Latin word fasces , meaning bundles of birch or elm rods with an axe on one end. In ancient Rome, fasces  was a symbol of the power of the magistrate and central authority. The version of the fasces  that was chosen as the symbol of Mussolini's party was the original symbol used in Roman times. The concept of Romanness or romanit

Popular posts from this blog

The Timeline of Humankind

Digital Archaeology: for some fun while you're stuck inside

The New Year: the organisation of time