[Talk] Looking Beyond the Temples: Exploring the Residences of the Ancient Angkorians

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Readers in New York may be interested in this talk by Dr Alison Carter at the Archaeological Society of Staten Island on Sunday, 16 September.

Looking Beyond the Temples: Exploring the Residences of the Ancient Angkorians
Dr. Alison Carter
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Oregon

Angkor, centered in the modern nation of Cambodia, was one of the largest pre-industrial settlements in the world and has been the focus of more than a century of epigraphic, art historical, and architectural research. However, few scholars have examined the lives of the people who built the temples, kept the shrines running, produced the food, and managed the water. This presentation will focus on Dr. Carter’s recent work with the Greater Angkor Project examining Angkorian habitation areas and specifically the excavation of a house mound within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure. Through this multidisciplinary research, we aim to better understand the nature and timing of occupation within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure and the types of activities taking place within an Angkorian household.

Source: September 2018: Dr. Alison Carter, “Looking Beyond the Temples: Exploring the Residences of the Ancient Angkorians” | Archaeology Society of Staten Island

The household archaeology of Angkor Wat

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Excavations at Angkor Wat. Source: Khmer Times 20160707

Dr Alison Carter’s article for the Khmer Times on her work on household archaeology at Angkor Wat.

Excavations at Angkor Wat. Source: Khmer Times 20160707

Excavations at Angkor Wat. Source: Khmer Times 20160707

Household Archaeology at Angkor Wat
Khmer Times, 07 July 2016

When you picture Angkor Wat, you might think of the imposing and elegant temple surrounded by a thick forest of trees. However, archaeologists now know that when Angkor Wat was built, it was surrounded by a series of mounds that are likely places where people lived.

Angkor Wat is just one temple in the Angkorian Empire, the heart of which covered an area of 1,000 square kilometers and may have contained a population of as many as 750,000 people. Investigating the question of where Angkorian people lived is one focus of the Greater Angkor Project (GAP), a collaborative research program between the University of Sydney and the APSARA Authority, directed by Dr. Roland Fletcher.

One way to begin understanding the lives of the non-elite members of Angkor is by excavating their households. Through excavations of their living spaces, archaeologists can understand the daily practices of people in the past. This kind of work can also tell us more about the variation between different households, communities and settlements, as well as the differences between elites and non-elites. In this way, we can come to understand Angkorian society from the ground up.

Full story here.

The archaeology of an Angkorian household

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Angkor Wat excavation. Source : Phnom Penh Post 20150627

The Phnom Penh Post’s feature on an ongoing excavation in Angkor Wat, led by my friend Alison Carter. While working within the grounds of the famed temple, the excavation is looking to uncover the daily lives of the common people who would have lived in the complex.

Angkor Wat excavation. Source : Phnom Penh Post 20150627

Angkor Wat excavation. Source : Phnom Penh Post 20150627

Archaeologists digging in search of common people
Phnom Penh Post, 27 June 2015

In Angkor Wat research, the focus has long been on temples and high society. A new project there is taking a different approach, laying the foundation for a new understanding of the iconic empire

A team excavating a dirt mound at Angkor Wat is hoping to shed light on one of the enduring blank spots in archeologists’ understanding of the Angkorian empire: the lives of its common people.

It’s a fresh direction in the field of Angkorian archaeology, according to the leader of the dig, Alison Carter, 35, an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney.

“We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the temples and inscriptions and the elite members of the society, but there’s still so much that can be learned about the regular people who were contributing to the Angkorian empire. I hope that this project can spark some interest in those regular people,” she said this week.

The project, titled “Excavating Angkor: Household Archeology at Angkor Wat” which began in early June and will continue through July, is funded primarily by the US-based National Geographic Society, as well as the Dumbarton Oaks institute. It is a part of the larger Greater Angkor Project, an umbrella research initiative managed by the University of Sydney and the APSARA Authority.

Full story here.