Lecture: Guerilla Archaeologists and the Singapore Story

by John Miksic

The talk started off with Prof. Miksic elucidating the reason for the talk’s curious title, alluding to aspects of archaeology, which share resonance with ‘guerrilla warfare’. He believed that, like many guerrilla units who fought against injustices, archaeologists also maintain the principle of preventing historical injustices such as the falsification of the past to achieve certain ends. As such, archaeologists have an important role in extending mankind’s memory beyond its natural capacity, limited by personal memories, and therefore enabling us access to a wider perspective of the past. This is mostly achieved through the archaeologists’ efforts in investigating the historical values found in ancient artefacts and the preservation of such objects as symbols that hinted to what our distant past may have been like. And on this thought-provoking note, he embarked upon regaling the audience with his experiences of archaeological expeditions, frequently highlighting certain aspects with a hint of bemusement, which linked back to his opening elucidation on what it means to be an archaeologist.

– Recap by Eddie Koh (Year 4, History Major)

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