Fieldwork Opportunity: Unearthing the ancient secrets of Angkor in Cambodia

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

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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