Road project threatend Philippine mummy site

A road construction project in Philippines’ Mountain province runs uncomfortably close to some sacred mummy burial sites, sparking criticism.

Hanging coffins of Sagada. Source: Inquirer 20160627
Hanging coffins of Sagada. Source: Inquirer 20160627

Sacred mummy cave in Sagada threatened by DPWH-DOT road project
The Inquirer, 27 June 2016

A government road-widening project in Sagada, Mountain Province is threatening the integrity of an ancient mummy burial cave in Ambasing Village.

The road-widening is part of the “convergence project” of the Department of Public Works (DPWH) and Department of Tourism (DOT) designed to ease traffic to and from the picturesque Mountain Province municipality.

The convergence project has irked residents who have criticized the local and national governments for their reckless disregard of environmental, heritage, and even sensitive cultural-religious concerns caused by public works in aid of tourism profits.

Full story here.

Alarm raised over carpark construction in the Banaue terraces

A controversial parking lot being constructed near the Banaue rice terraces is being called out by the head of ICOMOS in South Korea as being unsightly.

Source: Philippine Inquirer 20160222
Source: Philippine Inquirer 20160222

Unesco experts say 7-story parking building in Ifugao mars sightline of Banaue Terraces
Philippine Inquirer, 22 February 2016

The head of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) in South Korea has expressed misgivings over the construction of a seven-story parking building in Ifugao, which she said might mar the already scarred sightline of the Banaue town center in Ifugao province.

Icomos is an advisory body of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco)

Rii Hae Un, a professor at the Department of Geography of Dongguk University in Seoul, also echoes her group’s concern over the uncontrolled development on the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

Full story here.

Priest defies orders and destroys 18th century church ruin with construction

A priest in Philippines’ Iloilo province is relieved of his duties when he authorised construction on the ruins of an archaeologically significant ruin of an 18th century church, against the orders of the local bishop and the National Museum of the Philippines.

18th century church in Aranguel. Source: Philippine Inquirer 20160222
18th century church in Aranguel. Source: Philippine Inquirer 20160222

Capiz priest defies bishop, National Museum; builds concrete chapel on archaeological site
Inquirer, 22 February 2016

Parish priest in Iloilo relieved for allowing ‘unauthorized’ digging at Catholic cemetery
Inquirer, 28 February 2016

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Even without proper permits, the parish priest of President Roxas town in Capiz province has continued to build a chapel inside the ruins of an 18th-century church in Barangay Aranguel, a former town founded by the Augustinians in 1704.

The chapel construction started in 2014 and is the project of the parish priest, Monsignor Alden Boliver. It has been ordered stopped by the National Museum and the Archdiocese of Capiz.

Human bones were recovered after the foundation was dug in 2014, prompting local officials to call the National Museum for an archaeological investigation in the area.

National Museum assistant director and osteologist Angel Bautista and his team recovered trade ware and ceramic shards dating back to the Sung and Ming dynasties.

“These archaeological materials are significant because these will provide insights into the earlier period of human occupation in the area. Furthermore, the walls of the old church are still intact and should be protected for posterity,” said a National Museum report published on its website in 2014.

Full stories here and here.

New paper on the Baphuon

Mitch Hendrickson shares a new paper that was published last month in PLoS One on the construction dates of the Baphuon. It’s Open Access.

Le Baphuon (Angkor)

First Direct Dating for the Construction and Modification of the Baphuon Temple Mountain in Angkor, Cambodia
PLoS One, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141052

Architecture represents key evidence of dynastic practice and change in the archaeological world. Chronologies for many important buildings and sequences, including the iconic temples of medieval Angkor in Cambodia, are based solely on indirect associations from inscriptions and architectural styles. The Baphuon temple, one of the last major buildings in Angkor without textual or scientifically-derived chronological evidence, is crucial both for the context and date of its construction and the period when its western façade was modified into a unique, gigantic Reclining Buddha. Its construction was part of a major dynastic change and florescence of the Hindu-Mahayana Buddhist state and the modification is the key evidence of Theravada Buddhist power after Angkor’s decline in the 15th century. Using a newly-developed approach based on AMS radiocarbon dating to directly date four iron crampons integrated into the structure we present the first direct evidence for the history of the Baphuon. Comprehensive study of ferrous elements shows that both construction and modification were critically earlier than expected. The Baphuon can now be considered as the major temple associated with the imperial reformations and territorial consolidation of Suryavarman I (1010–1050 AD) for whom no previous building to legitimize his reign could be identified. The Theravada Buddhist modification is a hundred years prior to the conventional 16th century estimation and is not associated with renewed use of Angkor. Instead it relates to the enigmatic Ayutthayan occupation of Angkor in the 1430s and 40s during a major period of climatic instability. Accurately dating iron with relatively low carbon content is a decisive step to test long-standing assumptions about architectural histories and political processes for states that incorporated iron into buildings (e.g., Ancient Greece, medieval India). Furthermore, this new approach has the potential to revise chronologies related to iron consumption practices since the origins of ferrous metallurgy three millennia ago.

Download the paper here.

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Indian Angkor Wat temple copy suspended

Following a diplomatic protest by Cambodia lodged last year, India announced earlier this month that it has ordered the construction work of a replica Angkor Wat temple in Bihar to be suspended, and the plans re-drawn with suggestions from Cambodia.

The duplicate Angkor Wat in India's Bihar state. Source: The Telegraph 20150914
The duplicate Angkor Wat in India’s Bihar state. Source: The Telegraph 20150914

India Suspends Project for Construction of Angkor Wat Replica
VOA Khmer, 08 September 2015

India Gives up Angkor Wat Replica: Cambodian Spokesman
Khmer Times, 08 September 2015

India stops Angkor Wat replica after Cambodia protests
Global Construction Review, 09 September 2015

Row over Angkor replica ends
TTR Weekly, 11 September 2015

Cambodian officials invited to suggest changes to Angkor Wat ‘replica’
Can-India News, 14 September 2015

Diplomacy axe on Bihar Angkor copy – Centre acts on Ansari visit-eve
The Telegraph, 14 September 2015

Wat copy climbdown
The Telegraph, 14 September 2015

The Narendra Modi government has convinced a private trust in Nitish Kumar-ruled Bihar to drop plans to build a giant temple similar to the iconic Angkor Wat in Cambodia, defusing simmering diplomatic tension just ahead of a visit by Vice-President Hamid Ansari to the Southeast Asian nation.

Cambodia had asked India to stop the construction of the temple a little over 100km from Patna that Phnom Penh alleges is a “copy” of the Angkor Wat temple complex.

“We are facilitating a visit by a team of Cambodian experts to the site in Bihar, so they can examine the proposed temple and suggest the changes needed to avoid any similarity with Angkor Wat,” Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the foreign office, said today. “The private trust building the temple has agreed to make any changes the Cambodian team suggests.”

Ansari departs tomorrow on a two-nation tour of Cambodia and Laos. In Cambodia, he will visit the Angkor Wat and the Ta Prohm temples – which India is helping restore.

Full story here.

Task force to address construction near Thang Long Citadel

A task force has been set up to address the problems caused by the nearby construction of government buildings to the Thang Long Citadel World Heritage Site.

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Building work damages Thang Long Citadel site
Viet Nam News, 07 August 2014
Continue reading “Task force to address construction near Thang Long Citadel”

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Canal highway for construction material found in Angkor

Archaeologists have discovered a possible canal which links the Kulen mountains to Angkor, thus providing a ‘highway’ from which to transport the sandstone that was used to construct the temples.

Building blocks of Angkor Wat were shipped in by canal
New Scientist, 20 October 2012

Quarries and transportation routes of Angkor monument sandstone blocks
Journal of Archaeological Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.09.036
Continue reading “Canal highway for construction material found in Angkor”

Construction of the Preah Vihear museum breaks ground next week

A museum to house the artefacts from Preah Vihear will be constructed in the nearby Chom Ksan district. It doesn’t say when the museum is expected to open though.

Preah Vihear museum to bring development, tourists, officials say
Phnom Penh Post, 05 May 2009
Continue reading “Construction of the Preah Vihear museum breaks ground next week”