Thailand has a remarkable history of maritime connections to diverse regions of Asia and beyond. Well beyond coastal port polities, these connections have extended considerably up river for centuries. These connections along the country’s navigable waterways have shaped a map of the world of maritime Asia that extends well beyond those of dominant contemporary geographic imaginations, and thus challenges our thinking about the nature and extent of maritime circulations. Today however, many of these historic riverine communities and coastal settlements face dire threats from severe flooding and coastal erosion accelerated by climate change. This increased vulnerability poses drastic threats to the material culture record of the country’s rich history.
The Maritime Asia Heritage Survey works to systematically inventory and document the tangible cultural heritage of the country to produce an open access on-line heritage database to inform academic studies on the history of the region, support heritage management plans, and create a permanent archive of digital resources to preserve historical material that would otherwise be at risk of being lost to future generations.