via Phnom Penh Post, 05 December 2018: Last week the International Coordinating Committee for Safeguarding Angkor, which meets twice a year, celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) kicked off its two-day plenary sessions in Siem Reap on Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of its formation and its 31st technical session.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who attended the opening session, said preserving cultural heritage should not be mixed with politics.
The high-level commemoration was also attended by Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay, who was visiting Cambodia for the first time, and diplomats from Japan and France. King Norodom Sihamoni was scheduled to close the session.
Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona opened the session saying: “Now, Angkor World Heritage doesn’t face insecurity, temple collapses, or looting of antiquities.
via Khmer Times, 30 Nov 2018: I’m in Siem Reap this week for the ICC, so hopefully I’ll get to visit the exhibition and post some pictures later this week.
Source: Khmer Times 20181130
The Apsara Authority, responsible for the research, protection and conservation of cultural heritage sites around Angkor have organized an exhibition of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) to commemorate its 25 year anniversary.
The ICC-Angkor was established in 1993, one after Angkor was inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and the commemorative expo aims to make the general public more aware of the ICC-Angkor’s existence, activities and achievements.
The exhibition will last 15 days, from Nov. 28 to Dec.12, 2018, in the garden of the Grand Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap; and according to Sum Map, director general of the Apsara Authority, will be visited by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Dec. 4, and by King Sihamoni on Dec. 5.
via Asean Post, 29 November 2018: Walking through Angkor today, I did notice more than a few tourists being guided by apps rather than books or human guides.
Source: ASEAN Post, 20181129
Developed by local company Angkor Audio, the device enables foreign tourists the luxury of wandering the ancient site at their own leisure without being harried and rushed along by local guides. This has raised concerns among tour guides about their livelihood.
The devices may be rented by tourists or travel agents for US$2.99 for the first month of use. There are 30,000 sets of these devices currently undergoing tests. Ironically, Angkor Audio also rents out group tour systems, a portable broadcast system that lets tour guides communicate with their guests over wireless headsets. Like the group tour systems, the Angkor App is an extension of its conference equipment rental business.
Angkor Audio operation manager, Ny Nou Ros said the app actually complements the industry. Tourist groups and some individuals prefer human tour guides, while “a few thousand more” prefer to be on their own. “We are offering them an option,” he said.
Electronic audio guides are not new to the tourism industry or even Cambodia. They existed for many years without affecting local tour guides as most of them are employed by travel agencies for group tours, Ros said.
Readers may be interested in Asger Mollerup’s new book on Khmer sites in Northeast Thailand.
This book is the 2nd of three about Ancient Khmer sites outside the present day Cambodia and the first comprehensive inventory of ancient Khmer sites in eastern Thailand since the now more than one century-old works of Étienne Aymonier, Étienne Lunet de Lajonquière, and Major Erik Seidenfaden, describing some 170 Khmer sites in the provinces of Khorat and Buriram in the first two parts of the book.
Part 3 presents the ancient overland route from Angkor to Phimai marked by seventeen fire-shelters (‘dharmasala’), mentioned in a 12th century inscription. Also fire-shrines and fire-offerings are described.
The Apsara Authority has formed a committee tasked with relocating vendors and parking spaces around Preah Pithu temple in order to restore public order in the area.
The Apsara Authority on Friday held a meeting over the matter and formed the committee while discussing a solution to a growing number of vendors and visitors at the temple in Angkor Thom, northeast of the Bayon temple in front of Tep Pranam.
Sok Sangvar, deputy director-general of the Apsara Authority, yesterday said that a growing number of vendors and visitors, who park archaically, have led to public disorder around the temple.
via PLOS One, 5 Nov 2018: A cool new Open Access paper by Klassen et al. using machine learning to create a predictive chronology of Angkorian temples based on the architectural features and artifacts found at a site.
Archaeologists often need to date and group artifact types to discern typologies, chronologies, and classifications. For over a century, statisticians have been using classification and clustering techniques to infer patterns in data that can be defined by algorithms. In the case of archaeology, linear regression algorithms are often used to chronologically date features and sites, and pattern recognition is used to develop typologies and classifications. However, archaeological data is often expensive to collect, and analyses are often limited by poor sample sizes and datasets. Here we show that recent advances in computation allow archaeologists to use machine learning based on much of the same statistical theory to address more complex problems using increased computing power and larger and incomplete datasets. This paper approaches the problem of predicting the chronology of archaeological sites through a case study of medieval temples in Angkor, Cambodia. For this study, we have a large dataset of temples with known architectural elements and artifacts; however, less than ten percent of the sample of temples have known dates, and much of the attribute data is incomplete. Our results suggest that the algorithms can predict dates for temples from 821–1150 CE with a 49-66-year average absolute error. We find that this method surpasses traditional supervised and unsupervised statistical approaches for under-specified portions of the dataset and is a promising new method for anthropological inquiry.
via South China Morning Post, 13 November 2018: Cambodian workers at the West Mebon restoration project face serious financial hardship now that their salaries are slashed in half. This story was previously reported by the Phnom Penh Post.
Angkor temple restorers face financial ruin after French funding ends, but want to finish job
Jayavarman 7th, arguably the most ambitious of Khmer kings, was a great builder: he ordered the construction of many large temples and other public monuments, and also over a hundred hospitals. Art historian Dr. Peter Sharrock from the University of London explains how the hospitals were staffed, supplied and why everyone could use them.
Lecture at the Siam Society, Bangkok on 8 November 2018
Examination of Ancient Khmer Defensive Warfare Practices by Paul T. Carter
DATE: Thursday, 8 November 2018
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21
Did ancient Khmer kings, particularly during the Classic Angkor period, neglect key defensive warfare principles which neighboring civilizations, less powerful and grand than Angkor, practiced centuries earlier? The lecturer argues that while Khmer kings displayed very capable offensive warfare capabilities, they did indeed ignore basic defensive warfare tenets which largely rendered them militarily defenseless. This does not argue that the neglect of defensive warfare principles caused the collapse of the empire, nor that its key rulers, such as Jayavarman VII, completely ignored the defense of Angkor. His construction of Angkor Thom, with its significant walled and moat barriers, certainly illustrates some regard for defense. Neither does this suggest the employment of robust defensive principles would have saved Angkor from potentially debilitating societal changes that affected kings’ ability to respond to threats. The preponderance of available evidence does suggest, however, that at no time did Angkor’s kings conduct key defensive warfare practices that other civilizations used centuries earlier. Such neglect placed the Khmer army at a significant disadvantage against the larger, attacking Ayutthaya Army in 1431, and made it unnecessarily vulnerable to any future enemies. This lecture demonstrates how Khmer kings ignored fundamental defensive warfare techniques. Next, that the Khmers would have been aware of these techniques earlier civilizations had practiced. Finally, it examines possible reasons for such neglect which leads to a broader discussion of Angkor civilization.
via BBC Sounds, 28 October 2018: A BBC audio program about Angkor and the Khmer civilisation featuring a number of prominent scholars. I am a little bothered by the fact that there aren’t any Cambodians in the panel though – it seems silly to have a discussion about Khmer culture and civilisation without any Khmers involved.
Around the twelfth and thirteenth century CE Angkor was thought to be one of the world’s biggest cities. Its massive temple complex at Angkor Wat covered hundreds of acres adorned with majestic towers, terraces and waterways: symbols of the might of the Khmer kings who ruled the region. Angkor Wat attracts millions of tourists every year and has pride of place on the Cambodian national flag but there’s much more to Angkor and the Khmer civilisation than its temples.
Bridget Kendall talks about Khmer history with David Chandler, Emeritus Professor of history at Monash University in Melbourne; architectural historian Dr. Swati Chemburkar from the Jnanapravaha Arts Centre in Mumbai; anthropologist Dr. Kyle Latinis from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore and former Dean of the University of Cambodia; and art historian Dr. Peter Sharrock from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.