The government remains undecided on whether to grant official approval to unsanctioned hotels that were built in Bagan’s famed archaeological zone without the permission of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.
Existing laws prohibit commercial buildings in Bagan’s archaeological zone but for 25 hotels that have already been built, the ministry is debating whether to allow or demolish them, said Aye Ko Ko, director of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, at a press conference on the ministry’s 100-day plan in Naypyidaw on Friday.
“According to the law, hotels, motels and guesthouses can’t be built in archaeological zones unless the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture approves. This approval cannot be authorized by local authorities or our department,” said Aye Ko Ko.
The Perak State government announced last month plans to revitalise and conserve the Gua Tambun rock art site in Ipoh, a site I am very familiar with. The plans include constructing an entrance and public facilities, but more alarmingly, an awning to protect the paintings from damage. This is a really bad idea, because it represents a major environmental change to the rock shelter (not to mention as being practically unfeasible).
Realising the importance of the preservation and conservation of all archaeological and heritage sites in Perak, the state government is set to revitalise the Tambun Cave by building facilities to ensure that the place does not lose its lustre. The caves are famous for its pre-historic drawings,
State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Communications and Multimedia Committee Chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi told MetroPerak that the state government recently finalised the conservation plan for Tambun Cave including the proposal to build a proper entrance and other public amenities.
She said RM120,000has been allocated for the construction, which will commence this month.
The Archaeological Survey of India has been working to restore the Ta Prohm temple for over a decade now. The temple is famous for the trees growing into the structure (and was the picturesque backdrop to one of the Tomb Raider movies), but this state of nature interacting with architecture brings with it a unique set of conservation challenges.
The overlapping of trees and man-made structures at Cambodia’s Ta Prohm temple made the Archeological Survey of India’s restoration work difficult, so they had rope in IIT-Chennai to instruct them in structural engineering.
In a video “India-Cambodia Relations – A Labour of Love” highlighting the role Indian has played in restoration of Ta Prohm, the third most visited site after Angkor Wat and the Bayon temple in the Angkor region, posted online by the external affairs ministry on May 5, Indian archaeologists spoke about the challenges they faced in restoration.
“The restoration work at Ta Prohm temple was quite a challenging task as about 150 huge trees are growing in the complex, and some of them are growing over the structures,” ASI director general Rakesh Tewari in the video.
When the ASI took over the restoration charge in 2003, Tewari noted the temple was “all crumbled down” and resettling the monument wasn’t an easy job.
Along with second Lidar survey of Angkor, the data obtained from aerial mapping of the areas promises to be a boon for future nature conservation works, particularly with forest cover and endangered tree species tracking.
Aerial mapping techniques used to produce two new studies into forest canopies around the Angkor temple complex could provide a major boost to future conservation efforts in Cambodia and other tropical countries.
The first of the studies combined very high resolution (VHR) imagery with plant field data, while the second combined VHR imagery with images taken from Google Earth to produce detailed maps of the tree species in the Angkor Thom complex.
According to the studies’ authors, the methods could be used to monitor the presence of endangered or protected tree species, as well as to produce accurate estimations of the quantity of timber present in forests – data essential to implementing incentive-based conservation schemes such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program.
“In a few hours of flying, we can collect data over hundreds of square kilometres that would take decades to acquire on the ground,” said Dr Damian Evans, one of the reports’ authors.”>
It’s a shame to see them go, but removing them seems necessary for the continued well-being of the temple (and not to mention the safety of visitors!). Four trees from the famed Ta Prohm temple will be removed because their continued existence within the temple structure destabilises it.
These news stories were posted by Liz Price in a comment on the recent post about Gua Tambun, but I have a particular interest in the site so I’m re-posting them here. Graffiti has always been a problem ever since the site was open to public in the 1970s.
An opportunity for museum professionals in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to get training in museum conservation techniques.
In co-operation with the German Archaeological Institute, the German Apsara Conservation Project and the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz, the GCCS organizes 6-weeks-courses for two participants per course in restoration and conservation of archaeological objects. During the first 5 weeks, the participants get to know the basics in bronze, iron and ceramic conservation in the lab of the Memot Centre. The leading teacher is Ms Seng Sonetra assisted by Mr Tuy Sophea. Then the participants change to Angkor Vat where the team of Prof. Hans Leisen gives a 1-week introduction in stone conservation techniques.