Special Antiquity feature on Angkor Wat

The latest issue of Antiquity has a special section featuring the latest research on Angkor Wat, which is written by a number of my colleagues and friends. Among the papers discussed are the discovery of towers and previously unknown features within Angkor Wat, the results of the lidar scan in the greater Angkor region, and the fortification walls of Angkor Wat. Here are the links to the journal articles – the first paper is open access, but the rest unfortunately aren’t.

S0003598X15001799_figab

Angkor Wat: an introduction
Fletcher et al, doi:10.15184/aqy.2015.178

The landscape of Angkor Wat redefined
Evans and Fletcher, doi:10.15184/aqy.2015.157

The buried ‘towers’ of Angkor Wat
Sonnemann et al, doi: 10.15184/aqy.2015.179

Residential patterning at Angkor Wat
Stark et al, doi: 10.15184/aqy.2015.159

The fortification of Angkor Wat
Brotherson, doi: 10.15184/aqy.2015.140

Here are links to the news coverage so far:


University of Sydney, 09 December 2015

Angkor Wat Yields Astounding Buried Towers & Spiral Structure
LiveScience, 09 December 2015

Angkor Wat Larger, More Complex Than Thought
Cambodia Daily, 10 December 2015

The temple of Angkor Wat was bounded by a ‘mysterious structure’ 1.5 km long
Business Insider, 10 December 2015

Discoveries reveal lost Angkor history
Phnom Penh Post, 11 December 2015

Cambodia: Huge structure discovered at Angkor Wat shows religious monument is more complex than thought
International Business Times, 11 December 2015

Archaeology: Angkor Wat in Cambodia Was Larger and Different Than Thought
Natural World News, 11 December 2015

A lot more than meets the eye
The Hindu, 11 December 2015

New Findings Might Reveal the People of Angkor Wat’s “Last Stand”
Gizmodo, 12 December 2015

Historic Yangon disappearing

Yangon is home to a number of historically significant buildings, but its quick modernisation from the country’s opening up to the world threatens this flavour.

Yangon's changing landscape. Source: BBC News, 20150209
Yangon’s changing landscape. Source: BBC News, 20150209

The struggle to save Yangon’s architectural heritage
BBC News, 09 February 2015

Shepherding a flock of tourists through the traffic-congested streets of Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, a local tour guide shouts over the roar of oncoming vehicles.

Here, on Bogolay Zay Street amid the moss-covered, weather-stained, early-20th Century facades in the historic centre of the city, the history of the colonial buildings that make up old Rangoon, once the capital of Burma, begins to come into focus.

To the right, the former residence of famed Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda; to the left, one can still see the signage for the Young Women’s Christian Association, circa 1902.

In the distance is the city’s most iconic building – The Secretariat – where General Aung San, the metaphorical father of modern Myanmar and actual father of Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was assassinated in 1947.

Full story here.

Ly Dynasty architecture found beneath the Thang Long Citadel

Archaeologists working at the Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi discover the remains of Ly Dynasty architecture and water system beneath the existing foundations.

Unearthed architectural remains from Thang Long Citadel, SGGP 20121227
Unearthed architectural remains from Thang Long Citadel, SGGP 20121227

Vestiges of Ly Dynasty found at Thang Long Citadel
SGGP, 27 December 2012

Many more relics revealed under Thang Long Citadel
Vietnam Net, 28 December 2012

Ancient water system found at Citadel
Tuoi Tre News, 28 December 2012
Continue reading “Ly Dynasty architecture found beneath the Thang Long Citadel”

Seminar: Thailand's Buddhist Cultural Heritage: The Preservation Challenge

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in a seminar at the Siam Society focusing on the disappearing diversity of Buddhist temples in Thailand.

Thailand’s Buddhist Cultural Heritage: The Preservation Challenge
Date: 21 March 2012
Time: 1.00 – 4.30pm
Venue: Siam Society
Registration required, email jarunee@siam-society.org
Continue reading “Seminar: Thailand's Buddhist Cultural Heritage: The Preservation Challenge”

Ho Chi Minh City's heritage buildings deteriorating from neglect

Some of the oldest heritage buildings in and around Ho Chi Minh City are suffering damage due to neglect, according to reports from the city’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Crumbling relics slip through the cracks
Viet Nam News, 31 July 2010
Continue reading “Ho Chi Minh City's heritage buildings deteriorating from neglect”

Angkor's temples are uniquely Khmer

The Indianization of Southeast Asia was one of the early theories developed in the last century to explain the pervasive presence of Hindu religious sites, sculptures and languages in this region, but the mechanisms of Indianization have always been subject to debate. In the early years of this theory, it almost seemed as if Southeast Asia was a passive recipient for Indian ideas and religion, but today the general consensus is that local rulers used the religious teachings from India as a way to further validate their royal power, leading to many similarities in the ways rulers exerted control over their subjects here (think the traditional Mandala structures of kingdoms), but also to regional distinctiveness. This article shows how the buildings of Angkor reflect that Indian influence, but are also fundamentally Khmer in construction.

IMG_7653
photo credit: jin_soo

Researchers Look Closer at Ancient Angkor
23 June, VOA News
Continue reading “Angkor's temples are uniquely Khmer”

Repair work needed for Preah Vihear

While the dispute between the Thai and Cambodian governments simmer on, the Preah Vihear temple still requires some conservation and repair work in order to preserve its future.

Repair Work Needed
Bangkok Post, 19 February 2008
Link is no longer available
Continue reading “Repair work needed for Preah Vihear”

Heritage of Malaysia Trust

Shaiful, a reader of this blog, pointed me towards Badan Warisan, or the Heritage Trust of Malaysia, an NGO dedicated to the preservation of Malysia’s built heritage. From its website:

Heritage of Malaysia Trust

Badan Warisan Malaysia has played a distinctive role in the promotion of the preservation and conservation of Malaysia’s built heritage since our formation in 1983 as a Non-Government Organisation, concerned with the conservation and preservation of Malaysia’s built heritage. We are a voluntary organisation with charity status i.e. tax exemption.

Our members have been involved in the preservation of significant built heritage structures and sites throughout the country including Rumah Bomoh and Rumah Kutai in Perak, Gedung Raja Abdullah in Kelang, Selangor, Istana Tengku Long in Terengganu, Mesjid Merbok Pengkalan Kakap in Kedah and the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur. In 1995, Badan Warisan Malaysia restored and adapted a 1925 colonial bungalow into a Heritage Centre with exhibition, seminar, specialist resource centre and meeting facilities. This is keeping with our belief that the built environment is a reflection of our national identity and thus be should be conserved for the future.

Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung

A short piece on 10th century Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung in Buri Ram province. An interesting feature about the temple to Shiva is the possibility that the doorways are aligned to capture a single shaft of light once a year. The Sanskrit and Khmer inscriptions found associated with the temple have also been touched upon in a paper by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.

5 April 2007 (Pattaya Daily News) – A short piece on 10th century Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung in Buri Ram province. An interesting feature about the temple to Shiva is the possibility that the doorways are aligned to capture a single shaft of light once a year. The Sanskrit and Khmer inscriptions found associated with the temple have also been touched upon in a paper by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand in Uncovering Southeast Asia’s Past (see related books below).

Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung

Where do you come from?..”Buri Rum”..Where is that?

Phanom Rung Historical Park, Chalermphrakiat district, Buri Ram province) In Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, mountains are believed to be homes to the gods. Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung, a magnificent temple sanctuary set on the summit of Phanom Rung Hill, was built between the 10th and 13th centuries. According to the stone inscriptions in Sanskrit and Khmer found at the site, the original name of the temple complex is Phanom Rung, Khmer for big mountain

A religious sanctuary dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung symbolises Mount Kailasa, the heavenly abode of Shiva. Phanom Rung Hill rises 350 metres above the surrounding plain.

Astro-archaeological Phenomenon at Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung Astrologers have also predicted that an extraordinary astro-archaeological phenomenon will occur at sunrise during the April 3-5 period this year. The doors of the temple sanctuary are so perfectly aligned that during this period, at sunrise on a cloudless day with clear blue skies, the sun’s rays will shine through all fifteen doorways of the sanctuary in a single shaft of light.


Related Books:
Uncovering Southeast Asia’s Past: Selected Papers from the 10th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists by E. A. Bacus, I. Glover and V. C. Pigott (Eds)
Khmer Civilization and Angkor (Orchid Guides) by D. L. Snellgrove
Adoration and Glory: The Golden Age of Khmer Art by E. C. Bunker and D. Latchford

Korean Technology Helps Visualize Glory of Angkor Wat

A Korean company, in conjunction with Dongguk University have digitally recreated Angkor Wat, and will be made public in mid-December.

1 Dec 2006 (The Chosun Ilbo) – A Korean company, in conjunction with Dongguk University have digitally recreated Angkor Wat, and will be made public in mid-December. I’ll be looking out for the link to post here.

Korean Technology Helps Visualize Glory of Angkor Wat

The glory that was Angkor Wat has been restored to 3D digital life with the help of Korean technology. The digital recreation company CG WAVE and a research institute at Dongguk University dedicated to Buddhist electronic content have completed a one-year project to recreate the Khmer temple in western Cambodia at a cost of some W500 million (US$1=W930). Wars, colonial rule and the passage of time left many parts of the temple in ruins, and restoration work is continuous all over the vast complex. “Digital Angkor Wat” offers a glimpse of the temple in its original form.

Some 30,000 photos were used for the complete virtual restoration. “This is the first time we have used our technology to digitally restore a cultural asset of another nation,” says the leader of CG WAVE’s Angkor Wat team, senior researcher at Korea Advanced Institute of Sciences and Technology (KAIST) Park Jin-ho. “Using the maximum amount of information accessible these days as our foundation, we resurrected a lost cultural legacy and preserved it through video imaging.”