Travel: Raffles and Java

The 200th anniversary of Raffles’ arrival in Singapore has galvanised debate about the legacy of this controversial figure. His modern profile owes much to his interest in heritage, which restored his reputation after a debacle in Java. Tom St John Gray has been following in Raffles’ footsteps. Nestled among the skyscrapers and colonial buildings of […]


Meet the Hobbit

Modern humans can now look their recently discovered relative, Homo floresiensis, in the face thanks to a new reconstruction unveiled at an archaeological conference in Australia. This species of early human was first identified in 2003 when researchers led by Professor Mike Morwood and Thomas Sutikna found the remains of nine individuals in Liang Bua, […]



When were the South Sea Islands first inhabited? The discovery by Matthew Spriggs and Stuart Bedford of a remarkable cemetery, with nearly 100 burials and a superb collection of pots, has thrown new light on the earliest population of this remote area.


Java: The Gua Made green masks

About ten years ago a collector of ancient Indonesian art contacted my husband and me to ask our opinion on a group of masks cast in an odd green metal in his possession. Some of these masks, he said, had been recovered from an underground temple in a remote site called Gua Made, north of […]


Volcanic Pleistocene Wipeout

Volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland caused airline havoc in April 2010, but the far bigger Toba volcanic eruption that occurred on the Indonesian island of Sumatra 74,000 years ago nearly wiped out human life in Asia. Now, an international multidisciplinary research team, led by Oxford University in collaboration with Indian institutions, is […]



Babar Javed takes us to Borobudur, Java

Flores, Indonesia

A report on the shock discovery of a new minature species of human, homo floresiensis, who lived on the island of Flores until 10,000 BC