Angkor admission prices to rise next year

Visitors to Angkor Wat will expect to pay about twice as much from next year as a new pricing plan comes into effect in February.

Angkor Wat entrance fee to double
The Telegraph, 05 August 2016

Angkor temple entrance fee to almost double in February
AP, via KSL.com, 05 August 2016

Angkor to hike entrance fees
TTR Weekly, 08 August 2016

Angkor Wat ticket price hike could hurt visitor numbers: experts
Phnom Penh Post, 08 August 2016

Angkor Wat Ticket Prices Set to Rise After Government Takeover
Cambodia Daily, 08 August 2016

Stolen Buriram lintel believed found in San Francisco

A lintel that was stolen from an Angkorian temple in Thailand’s Buriram province is believed to be found in a museum at San Francisco.

Lintel believed to be stolen from Buriram province. Source: Bangkok Post 20160804
Lintel believed to be stolen from Buriram province. Source: Bangkok Post 20160804

Priceless Buri Ram lintel found in San Francisco
Bangkok Post, 04 August 2016

A Buri Ram-based conservation group has kick-started a campaign to press for the return of a “lintel”, a decorative object above a gate, believed to have been smuggled out of Thailand decades ago.

Tanongsak Harnwong, leader of Samnuek 300 Ong conservation group, said the pre-Angkorean lintel, which was made of white sandstone in the Kleang-Baphuon style and featured Lord Yama, or the god of death, surrounded by flowers, was on exhibition at the Chong Moon Lee museum in San Francisco. It was believed to have been stolen from Nong Hong temple in Buri Ram’s Non Dindaeng district some 50 years ago.

He said the group obtained a photo of the lintel and compared it with one taken by the late archaeologist Manit Vallibhotama, who took the photo of the famous Vishnu reclining on the Serpent Ananta lintel at Phanom Rung sanctuary, and found the two were identical. “They look like the same item,” said the businessman-turned-conservationist who was involved in the restoration of Nong Hong temple in 2002-2003.

Full story here.

Angkor’s road network resemble modern cities

The results of the latest Lidar campaign over Angkor and the other centres such and Sambor Pre Kuk and Banteay Chhmar promises many new research avenues.

What lies beneath
DPA, via The Nation, 11 July 2016

How archaeologists found the lost medieval megacity of Angkor
Ars Technica, 21 July 2016

Be prepared to sweat. Exploring the world’s largest religious complex in the Cambodian jungle is not for those who can’t take the heat. The sheer size of the gigantic edifices of Angkor Wat and the distances between them means long treks, in 40-degree heat and humidity as if in a sauna.

But then, what you get to see is stunningly unique. There are the monument-sized sandstone buildings, delicate carved bas-reliefs, and the strangler figs, huge snake-like plants creeping up the walls and buildings as if to swallow them up. Like in some enchanted forest.

It is almost impossible to believe that more than 800 years ago, in the heyday of the Khmer culture, hundreds of thousands of people lived in this merciless jungle setting.

But what archaeologist Damian Evans has now uncovered with the help of an airborne laser measurement technology called Lidar (light detection and ranging) explodes everything that was known heretofore.

Full stories here and here.

Enforcement of appropriate clothing at Angkor

Last month a clothing restriction was enforced in Angkor to prevent inappropriately dressed tourists from entering the temple grounds.

Cambodia to ban tourists wearing “revealing clothes” to visit famed Angkor
Xinhua, 05 July 2016

Angkor Wat in Cambodia dress code: Ban on scantily clad tourists
The Border Mail, 13 July 2016

Tourists wearing “revealing clothes” will be barred from visiting Cambodia’s famed Angkor archeological park from August 4, an official said on Tuesday.

Long Kosal, deputy chief of the communications department of the Apsara Authority, which manages the ancient site, said that tourists should wear proper clothes when they buy tickets for visiting the Angkor archeological park, otherwise ticket-sellers will not sell them the tickets.

“We will not allow any tourists wearing revealing clothes to visit the Angkor archeological park from August 4, 2016,” he told Xinhua. “Wearing revealing clothes offends Cambodian custom, tradition, and women’s dignity.”

Full stories here and here.

The household archaeology of Angkor Wat

Dr Alison Carter’s article for the Khmer Times on her work on household archaeology at Angkor Wat.

Excavations at Angkor Wat. Source: Khmer Times 20160707
Excavations at Angkor Wat. Source: Khmer Times 20160707

Household Archaeology at Angkor Wat
Khmer Times, 07 July 2016

When you picture Angkor Wat, you might think of the imposing and elegant temple surrounded by a thick forest of trees. However, archaeologists now know that when Angkor Wat was built, it was surrounded by a series of mounds that are likely places where people lived.

Angkor Wat is just one temple in the Angkorian Empire, the heart of which covered an area of 1,000 square kilometers and may have contained a population of as many as 750,000 people. Investigating the question of where Angkorian people lived is one focus of the Greater Angkor Project (GAP), a collaborative research program between the University of Sydney and the APSARA Authority, directed by Dr. Roland Fletcher.

One way to begin understanding the lives of the non-elite members of Angkor is by excavating their households. Through excavations of their living spaces, archaeologists can understand the daily practices of people in the past. This kind of work can also tell us more about the variation between different households, communities and settlements, as well as the differences between elites and non-elites. In this way, we can come to understand Angkorian society from the ground up.

Full story here.

Discovered boat dates to Angkorian period

Radiocarbon dating of a dugout boat discovered in Angkor indicates it was from the 13th century.

13th century boat found in Angkor. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160727
13th century boat found in Angkor. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160727

Tests confirm Angkor boat made in 1207 AD
Phnom Penh Post, 27 June 2016

Boat Estimated to be 800 Years Old
Khmer Times, 27 June 2016

A boat unearthed at a construction site in Siem Reap’s Angkor Thom district in April was made in 1207 AD, according to carbon dating results announced on Friday.

The 809-year-old vessel was carved from a single tree trunk during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.

Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal said the results, produced by a radio carbon dating lab in New Zealand, were announced at the biannual meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor.

“I believe this is the oldest boat that has been found so far,” Kosal said.

Full stories here and here.

Banteay Chhmar and sustainable community-based tourism

A feature on sustainable community-based tourism through the example of Banteay Chhmar.

Banteay Chhmar
Banteay Chhmar

Banteay Chhmar: How Cambodia’s ancient cities are boosting tourism and community development
IBT Times, 24 June 2016

In 2008, Global Heritage Fund began exploratory conservation work at the site and, in partnership with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the APSARA National Authority established a wide-ranging conservation, master plan and community development project at the site.

Part of this has involved the development of the Community-Based Tourism (CBT) to help local people living and working around Banteay Chhmar both acquire a deep understanding of the site and benefit from it economically and socially. Mobilising local people around the protection of endangered monuments is fundamental to GHF’s work and is critical for creating projects, which dually serve social and heritage preservation needs.

There will always be arguments over the impact that tourism has on historic sites and local people with the footfall in places like Angkor resulting in calls for tourist caps, but the CBT approach is entirely focused on sustainability. While private businesses benefiting from tourist hotspots retain their profits, the CBT income from visitors is for the benefit of the villagers and, to date, has seen funds reinvested in initiatives such as waste collection, a children’s library and the opening of a local restaurant.

Full story here.

The mystery of Suryavarman I’s temple solved

Dating of metal fixings in the architecture at the Baphuon temple in Angkor Thom have led researchers to conclude that it was built as the mountain temple of King Suryavarman I who reigned in the 11th century.

Baphuon. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160620
Baphuon. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160620

Metal Findings Give New Perspective on Angkorian History
Cambodia Daily, 20 June 2016

One thing that set Suryavarman I apart from other great kings—to the puzzlement of historians and archaeologists—was that he did not seem to have erected his own mountain temple: Jayavarman V built Ta Keo in the 10th century, Suryavarman II Angkor Wat in the early 12th century and Jayavarman VII the Bayon in the late 12th century.

But that mystery seems to have been solved thanks to cutting-edge research into the iron used to build the Baphuon temple, the second largest structure in Angkor Archaelogical Park after Angkor Wat.

This three-tiered pyramid was the monument that Suryavarman I built, according to carbon-dating of the metal used to hold the temple together.

“It’s very strange that a king with that amount of influence and power didn’t build himself anything in Angkor,” said archaeologist Mitch Hendrickson of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who headed the research team along with archaeometallurgist Stephanie Leroy of the Archaeomaterials and Alteration Prediction Laboratory in France.

Full story here.

Angkor Lidar roundup, June 2016

A roundup of the media stories from the results of the second LiDAR campaign over Angkor, which received a large amount of news last month.

cambodia-3-afeg

Meet Lidar: the amazing laser technology that’s helping archaeologists discover lost cities
The Conversation, 14 June 2016

Lasers uncover hidden ancient Angkor Wat cities in Cambodia
BBC News, 14 June 2016

Laser technology reveals huge medieval cities hidden in the Cambodian jungle
Science Alert, 14 June 2016

Ancient city discovered near Angkor Wat
AOL, 14 June 2016

Ancient Cities Were Swallowed by the Cambodian Rainforest
The Science Explorer, 14 June 2016

New Discoveries Radically Change What We Know About Ancient Cambodia
VOA Khmer, 15 June 2016

Earthen Mounds Discovered in Ancient Cambodian Cities
New Historian, 15 June 2016

Laser technology heralds new age of archaeology
iNews, 20 June 2016

North Korean Angkor museum sees few visitors

The North Korean Angkor Panorama Museum opened last December but is not receiving many visitors. Could it be because at $15, one might as well pay a little bit more and see the actual ruins a few minutes down the road?

Angkor Panorama Museum. Source: NZ Herald 20160602
Angkor Panorama Museum. Source: NZ Herald 20160602

Few visit North Korea-funded Cambodian museum
AP, via NZ Herald, 02 June 2016

A North Korean-funded panorama museum in the cultural hub of Siem Reap is getting few visitors.

The Angkor Panorama Museum, reported to have cost US$24 million ($35.2 million) to build, is just minutes away from the historic Angkor Wat temple complex, which receives millions of tourists each year according to Apsara Authority, the government agency responsible for the archaeological site.

However, on Monday there were few visitors to be seen, while museum director Yit Chandaroat admitted the tourist attraction was yet to pull in large crowds since its opening in December.

Full story here.