Angkor in Quicksand

The excess tapping of groundwater in the area of Siem Reap might lead to a situation where Angkor might stand on quicksand.

NZ Herald, 19 March 2008

Angkor in Quicksand
New Zealand Herald, 19 March 2008

This story is not unfamiliar to regular readers of this site, but this quote from Philippe Delanghe, a UNESCO culture programme specialist caught my eye:

“The growth in the number of hotels means more holes are being drilled for water. And this has profound consequences for this mix.

“We saw something similar with the weakening of the stability of ruins in Indonesia two years ago, and there is the possibility that we will see something like this here.”

I wonder if he was talking about the ruins at Prambanan, which saw some damage done to it during the 2006 eruption of Mount Merapi in Java.

In any case, let me remind any future visitors to Siem Reap to conserve water and leave behind the smallest environmental footprint as possible!

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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