Digital engineering of Thai archaeological sites

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Source: MGROnline, 04 September 2018

via MGROnline, 04 September 2018: Research project by a team from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi to conduct 3D scanning of Thai archaeological ruins and materials conservation. Article is in Thai.

Source: MGROnline, 04 September 2018

Source: MGROnline, 04 September 2018

Source: เผยฐานข้อมูลวิศวกรรม บูรณะโบราณสถานใกล้เคียงของเดิม

Hotels in Bagan’s protected zone in limbo

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The Myanmar government is deciding between granting special exemptions or demolishing some 25 hotels that have been illegally built in the protected area of Bagan.

Hoteliers Left in Limbo in Bagan
The Irrawady, 22 August 2016

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.

Full story here.

Conservation plan for Gua Tambun

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Gua Tambun. Source: The Star 20160309

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).

Gua Tambun. Source: The Star 20160309

Gua Tambun. Source: The Star 20160309

Working to save Tambun Cave
The Star, 08 March 2016

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.

Full story here.

Public Lecture: Phnom Penh Past and Present

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Something I’ve been organising as part of my work at SEAMEO SPAFA – a series of lectures on the capitals of Southeast Asia. If you’re in Bangkok next week, come join us for a lecture on the archaeology and urban conservation of Phnom Penh.

Capitals Archaeology Lectures Series – Phnom Penh: Past & Present
Venue: The Siam Society
Date: 11 August 2015
Time: 6.30 – 8.30 pm

The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO SPAFA) and the Siam Society will organize two lectures on the archaeology and urban conservation of Phnom Penh, as part of SEAMEO SPAFA’s lecture series on the archaeology and development of the Capitals of Southeast Asia. The second set of lectures, focusing on Phnom Penh, will be delivered on Tuesday 11th August 2015 at 18.30-20.30 hrs. at the Siam Society. The event is free of charge.
Programme

18.30-19.30 hrs. “The Archaeology of Cheung Ek in Phnom Penh”
Mr Phon Kaseka, Director, Department of Archaeology, Royal Academy of Cambodia

19.30-20.30 hrs. “Urban Conservation in Phnom Penh”
Mrs. Sisowath Men Chendevy, Director of the Heritage Center Cambodia and Vice-Rector of the Royal University of Fine Arts

Lecturers:
Phon Kaseka is the Director of the Archaeology Department and a PhD candidate at the Royal Academy of Cambodia. His work at Cheung Ek began in 2004-2005 with support from the NAGA Research Group. This work continued in 2007 on a project undertaking archaeological investigation and cultural resource management and was supported financially by the US Embassy. Later surveys and excavations at Cheung Ek in 2012 and 2013 were supported by the Friends of Khmer Culture and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Since 2014, he is conducting archaeological surveys and mapping along the Dangrek Range.

Sisowath Men Chandevy is Director of the Heritage Center in Cambodia, overseeing two missions set up in the cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the French Embassy. The first mission concentrates on the preservation of the architectural and urban heritage in Phnom Penh, and the second one is the Regional Heritage School for Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. She is preparing to defend her thesis for a State diploma in Architecture from France (Toulouse), specialized in the conservation and the restoration of the heritage buildings

Tourism growth in Bagan a source of worry

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Not altogether unexpected that the opening up of Myanmar and growing numbers of tourists to the famed Bagan complex is a source of worry for the continued preservation of the site.

Myanmar’s ancient city of Bagan is victim of its own success [Link no longer active]
Dalje, 03 June 2015

The city of Bagan, one of Myanmar’s most recognised and visited historical sites, is under pressure from growing hordes of tourists, despite regulation to conserve the site.

At the 11th-century Shwesantaw pagoda, one of the taller structures, “you can see hundreds of visitors at sunset every evening,” said Win Zaw Cho, chairman of Tourist Guides Association in Bagan Zone.

“Everyone who visits Bagan wants to see sunset or sunrise over the ancient temples and pagoda. It is a big, big demand and becomes a threat to old pagodas,” he said.

About 30 per cent of the more than 2 million tourists who visited Myanmar last year went to Bagan, according to the Culture Ministry.

Indian team reflects on Ta Prohm restoration

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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.

Cambodia-2593 - We have to get to the root of the problem..

Restoring Cambodia’s Ta Prohm temple challenging: ASI
India Gazette, 07 May 2015

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.

Full story here.

Angkor aerial survey also has serious nature conservation potential

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Archaeologist Damian Evans at Beng Melea. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150428

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.

Archaeologist Damian Evans at Beng Melea. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150428

Archaeologist Damian Evans at Beng Melea. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150428

Mapping tech holds promise
Phnom Penh Post, 28 April 2015

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.”>

Full story here.

Iconic Ta Prohm trees to go

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Ta Prohm Tree. Source: The Phnom Penh Post 20140902

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.

Ta Prohm Tree. Source: The Phnom Penh Post 20140902

Ta Prohm Tree. Source: The Phnom Penh Post 20140902

Temple trees to go: authority
Phnom Penh Post, 02 September 2014
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