TTR Weekly, 11 April 2017: Revenue has risen, as expected, but also, the number of visitors has risen as well.
Ticket sales revenue earned from foreigners visiting Angkor Wat archaeological park reached USD30.85 million during January to March, this year, up 51.6% compared with the same period last year.
Khmer Times quoted figures released by the state-owned, Angkor Institution, which is in charge of ticket sales at the World Heritage site.
The report also claimed the number of foreign visitors to the World Heritage site rose 8.95% to 764,146 in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period last year.
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.
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.”
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.
A new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science has been grabbing the headlines in the last few days: the first insights from the Lidar acquisition of Angkor. It is the most extensive use of Lidar in an archaeological context to date, which brings to greater clarity the urban sprawl of Phnom Kulen, Banteay Chhmar, the Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, Sambor Prei Kuk, Longvek and Oudong. Combined with the earlier acquisition of the core Angkor area in 2012, the Lidar data has uncovered a tremendous amount of information about settlement patterns in these areas.
The data gathered presents a big-picture view of several themes of interest: population flows, urban centres, water management and collapse, and provides starting points for many of these future lines of inquiry. To be sure, the patterns in landscape and features uncovered by the Lidar is spectacular, but many of these features will need to be ‘ground-truthed’ and investigated in real life. (Alison has a good commentary about the potentials and limitations of the Lidar data). All in all, a very exciting start to what is surely a new phase of archaeological understanding of Angkor, and hopefully one with repercussions to the rest of the region as well!
Early Khmer societies developed extensive settlement complexes that were largely made of non-durable materials. These fragile urban areas perished many centuries ago, and thus a century and a half of scholarly research has focussed on the more durable components of Khmer culture, in particular the famous temples and the texts and works of art that are normally found within them. In recent years however there has been a considerable effort to broaden the perspective beyond conventional approaches to Khmer history and archaeology. Remarkable advances have been made in the domain of remote sensing and archaeological mapping, including the application of advanced geospatial techniques such as airborne laser scanning within studies of heritage landscapes at Angkor and beyond. This article describes the most recent applications of the technology in Cambodia, including the results of a newly-completed campaign of airborne laser scanning in 2015—the most extensive acquisition ever undertaken by an archaeological project—and underscores the importance of using these methods as part of a problem-oriented research program that speaks to broader issues within history and archaeology.
Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat, the Guardian can reveal, in groundbreaking discoveries that promise to upend key assumptions about south-east Asia’s history.
The Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans, whose findings will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Monday, will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
A recently-published archaeoastronomy paper discusses the direct connection between the orientation of Angkorian temples with rising and setting of the sun during the equinoxes, but more importantly that the slight deviation along the east-west orientation of most of the temples were in face deliberate.
An Italian professor has set about the task of verifying with angles and axes what has long been theorised about Cambodia’s iconic Angkor Wat – that the temples took their cues from the sky.
Giulio Magli, professor of archaeoastronomy at Politecnico di Milano, used modern technology to test age-old thought in a bid to prove the clear orientation of buildings to the west was “connected with the temple’s symbolism and the management of power by the Khmer kings”.
“I only believe in what I can measure,” Magli told the Post, explaining his motivation to map precisely the orientation of the temples.
Still, if Angkor Wat is on your bucket list, there’s no need to panic just yet. Southeast Asia travel specialist Andrea Ross tells us, “They just moved the Angkor Wat entrance gate to an area that can accommodate more tourists entering, so it doesn’t look like they’re planning on limiting numbers anytime soon.” Traditionally, there have been two main gates through which visitors can enter the site, colloquially known as the East and West gates, and the ticket booths were stationed at the much larger, and busier, West gate. However, the booths were recently moved away from this gate in order to cut down on bottlenecking. Ross adds that other solutions, such as making some roads one-way only, could help reduce traffic (the human kind and the vehicle kind). A few measures are already in place. “They have capped visits to the top floor of the Central Angkor Wat Tower to 100 people at a time,” says Ross. “This is to reduce the wear and tear on the top tower.”
Another travel specialist familiar with the area (who also asked to remain anonymous) says that the issue of overcrowding at Angkor Wat is a controversial one in Cambodia: The Tourism Management Plan for Angkor, the official body that oversees the UNESCO site, is considering several plans to limit visitor numbers, while the national Ministry of Tourism is actively courting travelers from China and Korea as part of their plan to increase tourism revenue. He adds that this has created conflict between the two groups, and no one is sure who will win out. The Siem Reap airport is also due for an extensive upgrade and renovation, which hints at a bigger tourism strategy as well.
Readers in Los Angeles might be interested in the colloquium by Dr Chen Chenratana on the rise and fall of Angkor.
The Rise and Fall of the Khmer Empire during the Angkor period, 9th to 15th century A.D.
Colloquium with Dr. CHEN Chanratana, University of Cambodia
Date: February 16, 2016
Time: 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Venue: 10383 Bunche Hall, UCLA Campus, Los Angeles, CA
Archaeological research in Cambodia began in the late 19th century following the rediscovery of the lost jungle capital of the Khmer Empire by French explorers. The artistic and architectural magnificence of the Khmer civilization immediately attracted the greatest scholars of France and Europe. American and Asian scholars later joined the mission to better understand this brilliant culture. People from around the world participated in grand efforts to map, excavate and restore ancient structures and countless studies, articles and books were published about the Khmer.
Tragically, war in Southeast Asia during the 1970s stopped academic progress for nearly 25 years. Cambodia did not begin to recover until the early 1990s when the present government restored order in the nation. In 1994, Angkor Wat was registered as a World Heritage site attracting many international heritage groups to Cambodia and the Angkor region. Working with local experts from Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the APSARA Authority these organizations are once again continuing the mission to restore and preserve the legacy of Khmer temples and heritage.
The presentation will focus on the Rise and the Fall of the Khmer Empire during the Angkor period, from the 9th to 15th centuries A.D., drawing on the most recent research findings from local and international institutions.