Focus: Angkor, an emblematic post-crisis situation

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The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development’s commitment to restoring the Angkor site has been a pillar of France and Cambodia’s friendship since scientific activities were resumed in 1993, after a 25-year hiatus on account of the war.

France, via the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO), has been working in the field since the beginning of the 20th century and exclusively until the re-opening of the country in 1993.

Since 1991, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development has been working to have the Angkor site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and since 1993 has supported Cambodian authorities in co-chairing the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguard and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor.

In addition, for 20 years, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development has been providing French archaeological missions crucial support in terms of coordination and financing (more than €1,200,000 not including restoration work). There are now some ten French archaeological teams on site incessantly working to preserve an exceptional and fragile heritage.

First, the restoration work of Angkor monuments continue to be the object of considerable archaeological research, including the temples of Baphuon and Mebon when it comes to the French teams. Second, French missions supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development are currently driving innovative research on the lesser-known periods and spaces of this site. Research on prehistory is changing its chronological approach, by proving the existence of a period prior to Indianization. The archaeological study of the city of Angkor Thom also provides a fresh vision of this vast urban complex, founded and occupied since the late 9th century and not the 12th century, as it has long been considered.

The use of cutting-edge investigation and study methods, such as laser remote sensing, geomorphology, paleobotany and ceramography, is essential. New elements were discovered in the spaces that had thus far been studied very little, such as urban blocks, work spaces and hydraulic structures, providing new knowledge about this site’s daily life for study and to the general public. All these new approaches enrich the view people have about this well-known site but about which there is much more to discover and understand.

Image Diaporama - 1. Le temple du Baphuon. Photo : EFEO-MAEDI

1. Le temple du Baphuon. Photo : EFEO-MAEDI

Image Diaporama - 2. Vue aérienne du temple du temple-île du (...)

2. Vue aérienne du temple du temple-île du Mébon. Photo : EFEO-MAEDI

Image Diaporama - 3. Simulation 3D d'une vue d'avion du Mébon (...)

3. Simulation 3D d’une vue d’avion du Mébon restauré. Photo : EFEO-MAEDI

Image Diaporama - 4. Le temple de Ta Prom. Photo : MAFKATA

4. Le temple de Ta Prom. Photo : MAFKATA

Image Diaporama - 5. L'équipe de recherche sur la fouille de la (...)

5. L’équipe de recherche sur la fouille de la MAFKATA (Mission archéologique Franco-Khmère sur l’Aménagement du Territoire d’Angkor). Photo : MAFKATA

Image Diaporama - 6. Recherches sur le site de la MAFKATA (...)

6. Recherches sur le site de la MAFKATA (Mission archéologique Franco-Khmère sur l’Aménagement du Territoire d’Angkor). Photo : MAFKATA

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Updated: december 2016

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