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​Research News | Ivy Yeh leads team to victory in 2nd ACE Grant Call

Published on: 03-Aug-2019

SoH faculty member ​Assistant Professor Ivy Yeh Hui-Yuan's research project is one of the three winning proposals that were awarded the Accelerating Creativity and Excellence (ACE) 2nd Grant Call. The ACE programme encourages greater interdisciplinary collaboration between the various schools and colleges in NTU.

Project title: Tracing Early Trading in Singapore Using Geochemical Fingerprints and Artificial Intelligence on Archaeological Artefacts


Singapore is celebrating its Bicentennial as a trading hub in Southeast Asia. History of the early trading in Singapore and adjacent regions however remains fragmentary in written accounts. Archaeological artefacts discovered in the region can provide direct evidence of commodity sources, trading routes and early settlements. The current study on artefacts typically adopts a comparative method, which is limited by artefact preservations, and artefact identifications are often time consuming, qualitative and even ambiguous. 

We propose to answer the question of how the early populations traded in Singapore and Southeast Asia by employing geochemical fingerprints to trace the geological origin of the archaeological artefacts and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for image analysis of material patterns. Trace metal concentrations and isotope ratios in archaeological artefacts can help trace the origin of the materials, and smelting and kiln processes. In addition, image analysis with AI technology can identity artefact patterns with dramatically high efficiency and accuracy. Both methods have not yet been employed to study archaeological artefacts in Singapore and her neighbouring areas, where hundred thousands of sherds have been excavated. By applying the two approaches, our study can potentially reveal a new chapter of the trading history of Singapore. 

The research team consists of 

Ivy Yeh Hui-Yuan (SOH) - PI
Wang Xianfeng (ASE) – Co-PI
Wen Yonggang (SCSE) – Co-PI

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