via Khmer Times, 20 July 2017: The APSARA Authority released a report detailing the construction permits issued within the Angkor Archaeological Park issued this year, probably in response to its impending decision to demolish some 500-illegally built structures.
Apsara Authority grants home building permits
The Apsara Authority granted permission to more than 320 minor projects to build or renovate homes within the Angkor archaeological park in the first half of 2017, according to a report released yesterday.
Source: Apsara Authority grants home building permits – Khmer Times
via Tea Circle: Oxford DPhil Candidate Phacharaphorn Phanomvan discusses the emergence of small scale looting of antiquities in Myanmar and Thailand, particularly on how small antiquities like beads are thought to be desirable in the Thai market.
A heavy burden is placed upon governments of emerging economies to police looters and track down lost artefacts. These efforts would be better diverted towards addressing the demand side of the market, like sellers and collectors. At the same time, archaeologists should strive to develop an engagement approach with local communities and use heritage sites, even smaller ones, to develop alternative income and incentives. An increasing amount of grant funding for excavations now contains preferences for projects that can help develop local communities such as the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) funding for initiatives in Latin America and Cambodia. The Myanmar Archaeological Association (MMA) has started working with communities in Bagan and Pyu sites to encourage public awareness and develop local cultural management organisations for planning and resisting looting among villagers. These local efforts will need more funding and capacity building to expand towards sites outside Burman historical attention.
Most archaeologists agree that urban development, agricultural practice, and looting have extensively destroyed Thailand’s archaeological heritage. I write this in the hope that some efforts could be diverted towards containing ‘trinket’ collection trends among the growing middle class that have led to a very widespread and destructive small-scale looting practice. However, in the long term, it is necessary to develop a further understanding of the effectiveness of law enforcement on small-scale looting. To minimise looting, communities need to be offered better alternative careers that can potentially involve heritage development.
Cost of Trinkets: A Growing Archaeological Looting Network Between Thailand and Myanmar | Tea Circle
An exciting paper was published last week in Nature and received a fair bit of media coverage: dating from the Madjedbebe site in Northern Territories of Australia have yielded the earliest human occupation dates of 65,000 years, setting a new minimum age of human migration. The previous conventional earliest occupation date was about 47,000 years ago – so this new date is a pretty big deal. The finds have a bigger implication for human occupation in Southeast Asia: so far the oldest modern human remains found in SEA are from Tham Pa Ling in Laos, which are approximately 60,000 years old. This new find from Australia suggests that there may be older remains yet to be found in SEA.
The time of arrival of people in Australia is an unresolved question. It is relevant to debates about when modern humans first dispersed out of Africa and when their descendants incorporated genetic material from Neanderthals, Denisovans and possibly other hominins. Humans have also been implicated in the extinction of Australia’s megafauna. Here we report the results of new excavations conducted at Madjedbebe, a rock shelter in northern Australia. Artefacts in primary depositional context are concentrated in three dense bands, with the stratigraphic integrity of the deposit demonstrated by artefact refits and by optical dating and other analyses of the sediments. Human occupation began around 65,000 years ago, with a distinctive stone tool assemblage including grinding stones, ground ochres, reflective additives and ground-edge hatchet heads. This evidence sets a new minimum age for the arrival of humans in Australia, the dispersal of modern humans out of Africa, and the subsequent interactions of modern humans with Neanderthals and Denisovans.
Source: Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago : Nature : Nature Research
vis Khmer Times, 17 July 2017: China has unveiled a plan to promote tourism in Siem Reap, in response to the increased number of tourists to Angkor. Chinese tourists have increased dramatically in recent years, due to warm relations betweem Cambodia and China.
China revealed plan to help Cambodia by establishing a comprehensive tourism plan for Siem Reap province.
Source: Cambodia tourism to get Chinese help – Khmer Times
via Philippine Inquirer, 17 July 2017: The National Museum of the Philippines has declared a number of properties as National Cultural Treasures. The list includes buildings in Intramuros, Vigan, and museum buildings in Manila.
Intramuros monuments, Vigan bridge, Silang church, Pagsanjan arch declared National Cultural Treasures
Source: Intramuros monuments, Vigan bridge, Silang church, Pagsanjan arch declared National Cultural Treasures | Inquirer lifestyle
via Khmer Times, 13 July 2017: Indonesian and Cambodian travel industry meets to find ways to co-promote tourism in each others’ countries, notably to cross-promote the World Heritage Sites of Angkor and Borobudur.
More than 40 tourism sector specialists from Cambodia and Indonesia met to discuss the possibility of partnering.
Source: Indonesia promotes tourism links – Khmer Times
How would you like a chance in excavating Angkor Wat in 2018? Two of my friends and colleagues, Miriam Stark and Alison Carter are opening up fieldwork opportunities through the Earthwatch Institute; it is a pay-to-volunteer programme, with the proceeds used to fund the excavation.
The civilization of Angkor was long believed to have collapsed, but recent evidence suggests that the people continued living sustainably in the Angkor region after the empire collapsed and the capital moved south. What can we learn about dramatic changes that occurred in their society by studying their daily lives?
Much is known about the kings who ruled the Angkorian Empire from the 9th to 15th centuries, but far less is known about their subjects: the people who lived and worked during this time period and the following the post-Angkorian period (15-17th centuries CE), the so-called “non-elites.”
Previous archaeological work by the Greater Angkor Project suggests that these communities survived political conflicts from rival kingdoms and multiple periods of drought and flooding. We still know far more about Angkor’s rulers than about their subjects. What were their home lives like? How did they manage sustainable households under such climactic and socio-political challenges? Why did they stay after the political capital moved south?
By studying the remains of households, scientists hope to solve some of these mysteries. Join them on this novel archaeological expedition in the quest to uncover the answers to how the Khmer people endured in the face of these obstacles.
Source: Unearthing the ancient secrets of Angkor in Cambodia
via Phnom Penh Post, 13 July 2017: Cambodian authorities will take action this week on demolishing illegal constructions within the Angkor Archaeological Park, citing the potential danger to the Unesco World Heritage listing.
The director-general of the Apsara Authority and the deputy governor of Siem Reap announced yesterday that all “illegal constructions” inside the Angkor Archaeological Park will be destroyed next week, with any protests inside the park to be suppressed.
Source: Buildings to be razed next week: Apsara , National, Phnom Penh Post
18 July 2017, Khmer Times and various sources: Tourism to Sambor Prei Kuk has seen a boost since it was listed as a World Heritage Site last week.
PM Hun Sen has called on international committee responsible for safeguarding Angkor Wat to extend coverage to the Sambor Prei Kuk.
Source: Tourists flock to Sambor Prei Kuk – Khmer Times
via Bangkok Post, 07 July 2017: After intense discussions between the Mahakan Fort Community, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and the army, the BMA has decided to keep 18 out of the 30 houses as a living museum. However, much less certain is the fate of the community living there.
City Hall decided Thursday that 18 out of 30 houses will be spared from demolition at the Mahakan Fort community after final negotiations with residents.
Source: 18 Mahakan houses spared from bulldozers | Bangkok Post: news