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This is the most comprehensive book devoted to Sumatra in more than half a century. It summarizes earlier studies, and provides a huge amount of new knowledge for the first time in readily accessible form. Sumatra is one of the world’s largest islands, rich in flora and fauna, minerals and timber, and located at the midpoint of the maritime route between China and India. These are ideal conditions for the creation of a fascinating history. Sumatra has played a major role in world trade for 2,000 years, but its culture and archaeology have been surprisingly neglected. This volume sets out to remedy this defect. With chapters on history, archaeology, anthropology, folklore, and religion, the authors focus particular attention on the relations between the coastal peoples who are best known to outsiders, and the hinterlands, where most of the important resources lie. The list of authors includes most of the principal living authorities on Sumatra. Their cumulative experience consists of many years on all parts of the island. The book is copiously illustrated, and includes a comprehensive bibliography for those who wish to pursue further study of the wide range of topics covered.
Dominik Bonatz earned his Ph.D. from the Free University of Berlin (1997) with a dissertation on Das Syro-hethitische Grabdenkmal. He is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology at the Free University of Berlin, with a special interest in the social and cultural context of ancient Near Eastern visual arts and in comparative studies ranging from the Mediterranean to the Southeast Asian World. He has conducted research in Syria, Lebanon, and Indonesia.John N. Miksic earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University (1979) with a dissertation on Archaeology, Trade, and Society in Northeast Sumatra. He is an Associate Professor in the Southeast Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore. His main books are Historical Dictionary of Ancient Southeast Asia; Old Javanese Gold; Borobudur: Golden Tales of the Buddha; and Icons of Art: National Museum Singapore.J. David Neidel earned a Ph.D. from Yale University (2006) with a dissertation entitled The Garden of Forking Paths: History, Its Erasure and Remembrance in Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park. He is the Asia Training Program Coordinator for the Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative, a joint program of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, based at the National University of Singapore.Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz earned her Ph.D. from the Technical University of Darmstadt (2001) with a dissertation on The Shophouse of Colonial Penang. She is a lecturer in the Institute of South Asian Art History at the Free University of Berlin, with special interests in the architecture, urban history, and archaeology of Indonesia and Malaysia.
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