The Maritime Asia Heritage Survey (MAHS) works to digitally document historical and archaeological sites across the coastal and island world of Southern Asia through field survey work in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Brunei, and Vietnam.  

The seasonal monsoon cycles of this region have for centuries facilitated the circulation of people, materials and ideas across this vast seascape and created a complex mosaic of diverse local cultures. Today, many of the important sites, monuments and objects associated with the rich history of the region are increasingly under threat: exposed to environmental stress from cyclones, tsunami, coastal erosion, land subsidence and rising sea-levels; rapid and unplanned development and construction; and in some instances deliberate acts of vandalism.

To document this endangered heritage, the MAHS field teams uses digital technologies including GIS, RTK mapping, aerial and terrestrial LiDAR, digital photography, 3D modelling, video, CAD and IIIF standard manuscript digitizations to produce robust records in on online archive for the benefit of historians, local communities, governments, and heritage management professionals. The project is led by R. Michael Feener at the Kyoto University Center for Southeast Asian Studies. All records and other digital heritage assets produced by and/or integrated into the MAHS are made open-access available online here and permanently archived in the library systems of Kyoto University and the University of Oxford.

The Maritime Asia Heritage Survey is funded by a grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing & Peter Baldwin.

View our 3D models on Sketchfab

Interactive 3D visualizations of coral stone mosques, Buddhist temples, statuary, and other heritage sites and objects from the Maldives and Indonesia are available on the MAHS Sketchfab page. Click the arrow below to link to those collections of digital heritage assets.

3D Collections

Manuscript viewer

The MAHS Manuscript Viewer is a web interface providing access to Deep Zoom images of texts on paper and engraved on copper plates related to the history of the Maldives. The materials presented here include manuscripts digitized by our Survey Team in the field, as well as a selection of texts from the collections of the Maldives National Museum in Malé, as well as scans generously provided with permission by the Maldives National Archives.

Oral histories

Archive of oral history interview videos recorded in the course of
MAHS field survey work, presents a range of local perspectives
on the meanings of historical and archaeological sites by
members of contemporary local communities.

MAHS Survey Accomplishments

1592 Sites
7299 Structures
8895 Objects
24 3D Models
87 LiDAR Point Clouds
220 Digitized Manuscripts
40 Oral History Interviews
5 Collections

Latest from social media

Prof. Feener delivered a keynote on ‘The Spice Routes and the Formation of Muslim Vernacular Cultures in Southeast Asia for the “Cosmopolitanism of Islam Nusantara” Symposium hosted by UNUSIA: His lecture begins at 33:50 #Indonesia #IslamNusantara #JalurRempah #MAHS #CSEAS

The MAHS Indonesia Team is working with colleagues at the Pedir Museum in Aceh, Indonesia (@pedirmuseum_aceh ) to digitally document selected objects and manuscripts from its collections.

Follow us at #IndianOcean #Indonesia #Aceh #Islamicmanuscripts #heritage #pedirmuseum #cseas #kucseas

The latest installment of the MAHS Blog is an essay by Ros Mahwati Ahmad Zakaria: Traditional Mosque Roof Finials (Mahkota Atap Masjid) in Melaka, Malaysia

The variety and unique design of Mahkota Atap Masjid in Melaka dating from the 18th century to the 20th century symbolize the distinctive of the Malay community in Melaka, combining centuries of Islamic tradition in dynamic interaction with a complex constellation of cultural influences. In fact, most of the mosques are located in areas that are also home to many non-Muslim residents. Mahkota Atap Masjid thus represents an engagement with culturally complex visual languages shared by diverse communities in the development of a material form expressing Islamic values through the adornment of a house of prayer. They present a striking reflection of the multi-cultural mosaic produced over the course of Melaka’s rich history.
#IndianOcean #Malaysia #heritage #OpenAccess #CSEAS