via Phnom Penh Post, 01 April 2019: An ongoing drought in Cambodia has raised concerns over the structural integrity of the Angkor monuments, as fears of the moat drying up may destabilise the temples.
A historian has raised fears that the drought currently gripping Cambodia could affect the foundations of the Kingdom’s globally renowned Angkor Wat, while the temple complex’s Apsara Authority management has said that, while it was prepared, it was not expecting such a problem.
Diep Sophal, a professor of history at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said if the water in Angkor Wat’s iconic moat was to dry out to such a degree that the temple’s foundations were exposed, the resulting natural degradation could lead to the building’s structural integrity being compromised.
He also expressed concern that the loss of the moat would discourage tourists from visiting the Unesco World Heritage Site.
New paper by Carter et al. in the Journal of Field Archaeology
The Khmer Empire (9th–15th centuries a.d.), centered on the Greater Angkor region, was the most extensive political entity in the history of mainland Southeast Asia. Stone temples constructed by Angkorian kings and elites were widely assumed to have been loci of ritual as well as habitation, though the latter has been poorly documented archaeologically. In this paper, we present the results of two field seasons of excavation at the temple site of Ta Prohm. Using LiDAR data to focus our excavations, we offer evidence for residential occupation within the temple enclosure from before the 11th century a.d. until the 14th century. A comparison with previous work exploring habitation areas within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure highlights similarities and differences between the two temples. We argue that temple habitation was a key component of the Angkorian urban system and that investigating this unique form of urbanism expands current comparative research on the diversity of ancient cities.
via Khaosod English, 28 September 2018: The (failed) Thai attempt to move Angkor Wat was briefly mentioned in a previous Instagram post, but here’s the full story according to Thai historian Santi Pakdeekham.
BANGKOK — Thailand is often accused by Cambodians of stealing their cultural heritage, from Khon to the Preah Vihear temple. But all these disputes pale in comparison to Thailand’s attempted theft of Angkor Wat.
If anyone’s in Bangkok this Thursday (16 August), I’ll be giving a lecture at the Siam Society on the Invisible Paintings of Angkor Wat. I gave a similar lecture at the Asian Civilisations Museum earlier this year. The lecture begins at 7.30 pm.
In 2014, a paper published in the journal Antiquity revealed “invisible” paintings on the walls of Angkor Wat. These paintings, found throughout the temple, are mostly invisible to the naked eye. Some of the most indiscernible paintings are compositions of entire wall murals, apparently unfinished. This talk will reveal the invisible paintings of Angkor Wat, along with other historical graffiti found at the site. The post-Angkorian corpus of paintings and engravings present at the Angkor Wat illustrate a long history of occupation, reuse and conversion, shedding light on a common misconception that the temple was abandoned to the jungle before being “rediscovered” by the French and the Western world in the 18th century, and the transformation of Angkor Wat from a 12th century Hindu temple into a Buddhist stupa.
via Phnom Penh Post, 09 August 2018: A group of tourists were prevented from performing a religious ceremony in Angkor Wat, which led to their brief detainment. It’s important to note that Angkor Wat is still a religious site and that some religious rituals are performed there at a regular basis, and people who wish to do so have to seek official permission in order to do so.
A group of Vietnamese tourists and their Cambodian guide were briefly held for questioning on Wednesday after they attempted to perform a prohibited religious ritual inside Siem Reap’s Angkor Archeological Park.
via Khmer Times, 25 June 2018: The ancient graffiti of Angkor Wat is actually quite interesting and something I encountered while researching the invisible paintings a few years ago. The ‘graffiti’ – most of them inscriptions left behind by pilgrims – sheds light on the history of the temple during the post-Angkorian period and when the temple began to be seen as a Buddhist shrine rather than a Hindu one. Of course, leaving writing on the walls of the temples today is not only highly discouraged, it is downright illegal!
The foreign letters written on the stones of the Angkor Wat temple were written during the 17th century and before the 1990s.
The body that oversees the ancient Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Cambodia has said it detained four Chinese nationals this week for alleged drilling at the site.
Long Kosal, the Apsara Authority’s spokesman, said that the men were construction workers employed by a Chinese company that was contracted to study the restoration of the site’s waterways, but they did not inform the authorities before they started drilling at the site.
“They are working on waterway restoration from the Mekong River to the Tonle Sap Lake, but they did not contact the Apsara Authority or sent in the request in order to set the location to measure the Tonle Sap Lake. They just came and drilled,” he said.