Angkor hilltop sunset rationed – TTR Weekly

The Apsara Authority reports plans to limit the number of people going to Phnom Bakheng to watch the sun set, as a plan to mitigate long-term damage by tourists.

Source: Angkor hilltop sunset rationed : TTR Weekly

See also: Limits put in place to stop tourists ruining Angkor sunsets

Chinese Angkor Wat Project catches the Apsara Authority unawares

A Chinese company announced plans to build a $21 million cultural park in Angkor, but the Apsara Authority announced that they have not been informed of such a venture.

A Chinese investment company is planning to build a $21.8 million cultural park near Angkor Wat, according to a report in Chinese media, although the authority responsible for the world heritage site said on Sunday it had not been approached about the project.

Source: Apsara Authority Unaware of Chinese Angkor Wat Project – The Cambodia Daily

See also: Yunnan firm eyes Cambodian park

mm-scale motion detected in Angkor temples, with implications for future structural stability

A new (Open Access) paper in Science Advances describes using radar imagery to detect motion in Angkoran temples over time. In the short term, the effects of groundwater pumping seems to be minimal on the temple structures (+/- 3mm) but there are implications in the long term.

The conservation of World Heritage is critical to the cultural and social sustainability of regions and nations. Risk monitoring and preventive diagnosis of threats to heritage sites in any given ecosystem are a complex and challenging task. Taking advantage of the performance of Earth Observation technologies, we measured the impacts of hitherto imperceptible and poorly understood factors of groundwater and temperature variations on the monuments in the Angkor World Heritage site (400 km2). We developed a two-scale synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) approach. We describe spatial-temporal displacements (at millimeter-level accuracy), as measured by high-resolution TerraSAR/TanDEM-X satellite images, to provide a new solution to resolve the current controversy surrounding the potential structural collapse of monuments in Angkor. Multidisciplinary analysis in conjunction with a deterioration kinetics model offers new insights into the causes that trigger the potential decline of Angkor monuments. Our results show that pumping groundwater for residential and touristic establishments did not threaten the sustainability of monuments during 2011 to 2013; however, seasonal variations of the groundwater table and the thermodynamics of stone materials are factors that could trigger and/or aggravate the deterioration of monuments. These factors amplify known impacts of chemical weathering and biological alteration of temple materials. The InSAR solution reported in this study could have implications for monitoring and sustainable conservation of monuments in World Heritage sites elsewhere.

Source: Radar interferometry offers new insights into threats to the Angkor site | Science Advances

See also:
Angkor temples are safe from sudden collapse—for now
Iconic Angkor Wat temple at risk of collapse because of environmental threats

The staircase of Phnom Kulen

Archaeologists turn their attention to a mysterious massive staircase on Phnom Kulen, thought to be constructed in Angkoran times.

The 487-meter ascent to sacred Phnom Kulen in Siem Reap province is steep and rocky. At some point between the ninth and 13th centuries, a powerful leader decided to forge a clearer path.

Source: Archaeologists Scale History of Ancient Staircase – The Cambodia Daily

BBC – Travel – Cambodia’s hidden jungle temple

Beng Melea offers a budget version of visiting the Angkor ruins, with the added bonus of still looking like a ruin.

Beng Mealea, an eerie jungle temple that invokes the earlier, less-discovered days of Angkor Wat, gives plenty of hope to the Indiana Jones in all of us.

Source: BBC – Travel – Cambodia’s hidden jungle temple

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.