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Singapore archaeology team donates to Phnom Kulen reforestation

Singapore archaeologists working in Cambodia donate money towards the reforestation of Phnom Kulen, which in recent years has been stricken by illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.

Singapore archaeologists help with reforestation of potential Cambodian Unesco site
The Straits Times, 20 August 2015

An archaeology team from Singapore is helping in the reforestation efforts of a potential Unesco World Heritage Site in Cambodia.

The Phnom Kulen, or the Mountain of Lychees in Cambodia, which is on Unesco’s tentative list, has been cleared for agriculture and illegally logged for building timber. This has resulted in erosion across the site.

In June, archaeologist Lim Chen Sian from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and his team donated $500 that will go towards planting 5,000 tree seedlings across the site.

Full story here.

Jayavarman VII’s hospitals and the Angkorian healthcare system

Cambodia Daily’s interview with Dr Rethy Chhem about his work in radiology and archaeological investigations in Jayavarman VII’s hospitals.

Full story

Bas-relief of Angkorian medical care. Source: Cambodia Daily 20150822

Bas-relief of Angkorian medical care. Source: Cambodia Daily 20150822

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Uncovering the Healthcare System of Angkor
Cambodia Daily, 22 August 2015

By the time Jayavarman VII came to the throne, the kingdom already had a long medical tradition, according to Dr. Chhem.

In the 7th century, there had been a small dynasty of doctors at the Khmer court: one family of doctors spanning four generations, he said. Also during that century, Chinese chronicles mention that a Chinese Buddhist monk was sent to Cambodia for two years to study herbal medicine.

“Globalization existed before today,” Dr. Chhem said. “There was a circulation of knowledge across the region…. The profession that allowed this diffusion of knowledge is the Buddhist monks: They were diplomats.”

In addition to traditional medicine, which is still practiced in the country, there was a tradition during Angkor of Brahmin priests being doctors and caring for the king using Ayurvedic medicine of Hindu origin.

When Mr. Pottier and Dr. Chhem excavated the hospital site at Angkor, Dr. Chhem had hoped to find medical instruments of the time and a statue of Bhaisajyaguru—a sitting Buddha holding a jar of medicine or a plant.

They did not find a statue, but unearthed numerous jars probably used for medicine that will eventually be studied by paleobot­anists, Dr. Chhem said, adding that he hopes to resume excavation in the near future.

Excavations at Ho Citadel reveal moat structure

Excavations at the Ho Citadel Unesco World Heritage Site have uncovered the remnant of a moat system among other archaeological finds.

Excavation at Ho Citadel. Source: Viet Nam News 20150819

Excavation at Ho Citadel. Source: Viet Nam News 20150819

Relics discovered at Ho Dynasty Citadel
Viet Nam News, 19 August 2015

Several relics and artifacts have been excavated from the Ho Dynasty Citadel’s southern area in the central province of Thanh Hoa, Director of Heritage Conservation Centre Do Quang Trong said.

Most recently, the three-month-long excavation of a 2,040sq.m area discovered a moat system and the relic of a citadel’s coastline.

The 61m-wide moat system has many processed stone blocks and a layer of crushed stone that is 5cm to 10cm thick.

The 7m-wide coastline relic is made of stone, lying 3.05m to 3.22m underground in the north and 3.89m to 4.60m in the south of the excavated site.

Full story here.

Mine found near Angkor ticket booth

An anti-personnel mine was found and defused near the ticketing area to the Angkor Archaeological Park. The mine was found in a forested area, away from the public and its discovery is puzzling. The Angkor Archaeological Park has been extensively de-mined and there have been no recent incidents of UXO detonating in the Angkor Park area.

Mine found near the Angkor ticketing booth. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150819

Mine found near the Angkor ticketing booth. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150819

Mine found near Angkor Wat
Phnom Penh Post, 19August 2015

A Russian-made anti-personnel mine was found less than 100 metres away from the ticket booths of the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Riep province yesterday, though authorities said it posed no threat to the public.

According to Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana, the Soviet OZM-4 mine is a war relic from the 1980s that lacked the ability to detonate in the state it was found.

“It could not explode unless we attached a strong wire tether to the small lifting charge of the mine and then someone stepped on the wire,” he said yesterday.

Another demining expert who had seen the device but spoke on condition of anonymity concurred that the device could not have been detonated, but added that its “new” appearance meant it was unlikely to have spent years in exposed conditions or to have been missed during clearance operations.

Full story here.

Butuan gold pieces to go on display in New York from next month

Ancient gold jewelry from the Ayala Museum collection will be exhibited for the first time in New York at the Asia Society from next month.

Ear ornaments from Butuan, from the Ayala Museum collection. Source: Philippine Inquirer 20150812

Ear ornaments from Butuan, from the Ayala Museum collection. Source: Philippine Inquirer 20150812

NY society to get a glimpse of Philippine pre-colonial gold
Philippine Inquirer, 12 August 2015

When the exhibit of gold artifacts from the Philippines opens at the Asia Society Museum in New York City next month, visitors will be astounded by the quality and intricacy of the pieces. The fact that they date from the 10th to the 13th centuries should be even more cause for amazement.

This is the first time that these pre-colonial gold objects, on loan from the collections of Ayala Museum and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), will be exhibited in the United States.

“Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms” opens Sept. 11 and will run until early January 2016.

Full story here.

Pyu sites report increased numbers following Unesco listing

Visitors to the Pyu cities of Sri Ksetra, Halin and Beikthano are on the rise since the three cities were collectively inscribed in the Unesco World Heritage List.

Visitor numbers up at UNESCO site
Myanmar Times, 14 August 2015

Since being listed as a World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Sri Ksetra has seen a surge of visitors, reviving the town’s tourism industry, officials say. U Zaw Myo Kyaw, deputy director of the department of Archaeology and National Museum told The Myanmar Times yesterday that Sri Ksetra is the most popular among visitors to the three ancient Pyu cities. The other two, Halin and Beikthano, were also listed.

“Visitor numbers rose after the UNESCO listing. It’s an easy day trip from Yangon,” he said.

While U Zaw Myo Kyaw could not provide exact figures to show the increase since the sites were listed in June 2014, he said tourist numbers have increased from 600 in 2010-2011 to about 9000 in 2014-2015.

Full story here.

Rain causes collapse of temples in Bagan

Recent torrential rains in Bagan have cause the collapse of at least two temples in the ancient temple complex. The conservation of the Bagan temples are problematic because there are so many of them, and some restoration efforts have been poorly done.

Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

Reconstructed pagoda collapses at Bagan
Myanmar Times, 12 August 2015

The dramatic collapse of a temple in Bagan after heavy rain could have been caused by botched conservation work, officials have suggested. Department of Archaeology and National Museum director general U Kyaw Oo Lwin told The Myanmar Times that the temple known as number 1752 collapsed on August 9, and the spire of temple 1297 collapsed two days later in torrential rain.

Nobody was injured in either collapse.

Temple 1752, which was 30 feet (9 metres) high, was restored in 2003 using new bricks that were laid on top of the original foundations.

U Kyaw Oo Lwin attributed the building failure to the mismatch of new bricks on the old structure during the renovation.

Full story here.

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Brunei opens archaeological park

We don’t get much archaeology news from Brunei, so this piece is a treat: the country has opened an archaeological park that shows the history and archaeology of the Kota Batu site, the site of a 700-year-old settlement.

Source: AsiaOne 20150812

Source: AsiaOne 20150812

700-year-old artefacts on display at Brunei’s new archaeological park
ANN, via AsiaOne.com, 12 August 2015

Members of the public can now learn about the history of 700-year-old artefacts that were left behind from the ancient city of Kota Batu at the newly-launched Archaeological Park.

The 120-acre park has an exhibition that showcases ancient objects found at Kota Batu archaeological site around 1950.

The exhibited artefacts included stone carvings, pottery, ceramics and ancient coins. A 2.9km walkway was also built at the park for sightseeing.

Full story here.

Tussle for ‘replica’ Angkor Wat rages on

Cambodia continue to pursue diplomatic channels to prevent the construction of a Hindu temple in India’s Bihar province for its similarities to Angkor Wat. The Mahavir Mandir Trust, who is in charge of the temple’s construction argues that the request is moot since the temple is not an exact replica.

Siem Reap Reflections (CAMBODIA/REFLECTION/ANGKOR WAT) III

India urged to stop Angkor Wat ‘replica’ plan
New Kerala, 11 August 2015

Cambodia rakes up Angkor Wat replica issue with India
Business Standard, 11 August 2015

India Urged Again To Halt Angkor Wat Replica
Khmer Times, 11 August 2015

Kesariya temple not a replica of Angkor Wat
The Times of India, 11 August 2015

Request to Stop Indian Temple Moot as Not Angkor Wat Copy
Cambodia Daily, 12 august 2015

Temple ‘will not be Angkorian’
Phnom Penh Post, 12 August 2015

Temple in Bihar not ‘exact replica’ of Angkor Wat
IANS, via Web India, 14 August 2015

photo by:

Chinese remote sensing data to provide data for Angkor

China is lending its satellite imaging resources to Cambodia to help understand real-time environmental patterns affecting the Angkor region, through a special remote sensing centre in Angkor.

China’s remote-sensing satellites helps Angkor Wat restoration
Business Standard, 10 August 2015

China’s remote-sensing satellites are providing environmental data for protection of the ruins of Cambodia’s heritage Angkor Wat, a magnificent 12th century Hindu temple which holds exceptional universal value.

Located in northwest Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, Angkor Wat Temple, inscribed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1992, is the country’s most popular tourist destination.

Chinese satellites are using remote-sensing to collect and process images of the site in real time, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Full story here.