文化遺産国際協力コンソーシアム Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage JCIC-Heritage logo JCIC-Heritage

A training program on the conservation of Longvek and Oudong

A training program on the conservation of Longvek and Oudong

Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

Cambodia

The Krang Kor site

2010-2013 Human Resource Development
01/03/2013
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BACKGROUND

Exploring the history of capitals in the post-Angkor period

The history of the Angkor Empire (9th -15th century A.D.), which is renowned for Angkor Wat, is gradually being brought to light through research on the abundant architecture and inscriptions from the relevant time period that remain within the country. By contrast, much of the history from the abandonment of the Angkor capital in the 15th century up to the time when France made Cambodia a protectorate remains shrouded in mystery, as there is little historical material from the period and few archaeological excavations or other studies have been carried out to date. Oudong and Longvek, the sites of the project, are former state capitals from this period known as post-Angkor.

After Angkor was abandoned by the regime of the time, the capital moved from Basan in Kompong Cham Province to Phnom Penh, the current capital, and furthermore to Longvek in Kompong Chhnang and to Oudong in Kandal Province. Longvek is said to have been established in the 16th century, and Oudong in the 17th, and the two capitals are also close geographically. The primary objective of our project, funded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, was to transfer various archaeological research techniques and methods to young Cambodian specialists. At the same time, we sought to contribute to the advancement of research on the post-Angkor period, which has been left unstudied.

Excavation at the Krang Kor site

ACTIVITIES

The discovery of the Krang Kor site

We commenced our project in 2010. It was designed to provide young researchers who were graduates of the faculty of archaeology at the Royal University of Fine Arts an opportunity to learn onsite while taking part in the various tasks involved in the process of conservation of artifacts, from preparing and running an excavation, to establishment of reference points for measurements, Ground Penetrating Radar Surveys, the location, excavation, and documentation of artifacts, and creation of reports. The first fieldwork was carried out in the central part of Longvek, and the village of Krang Kor, located 15 kilometres northwest of Longvek. The location was chosen based on urgent reports by the local villagers of Krang Kor to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, regarding the discovery of artifacts in the area.

As a result of the excavation, several burials were discovered at Krang Kor, together with burial items including imported ceramics, earthenwares, iron knives, and glass beads. This marked the discovery of the Krang Kor site. From surface collection we found a set of imported ceramics mainly from the 14th to 16th centuries. Since it was still undetermined how many and what kind of sites remained at Longvek, we undertook excavations at three sites, including fieldwork and surface collection, with a view to making an inventory and a map. Together with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, we are now in the process of publishing the research results.

Burial excavated at the Krang Kor site

Artifacts excavated at the Krang Kor site

RESULTS

Training program for young Cambodian researchers and a new study on the post-Angkor period

From 2010 up to the present (October, 2012), we have carried out five fieldwork and training programs. Over 30 young researchers have taken part in the sessions. Moreover, the results of our project sparked growing interest among young researchers with regard to the study of cities in the post-Angkor period, trade in the same period as evidenced by excavated glass and ceramics, as well as research on the burial of the Krang Kor site. In addition, we expect that young researchers will take the initiative to carry out further research and excavation activities in Cambodia in the near future, as a result of the comprehensive training they have received ranging from preparation, excavation, and reporting results, to classification and conservation of artifacts.

While the Angkor Empire attracts attention from all over the world, with support for research projects concentrated on the sites at Angkor, study of the post-Angkor period has just begun. In addition to the sites discovered in our project, fieldwork has confirmed more than fifty other sites in the area of Longvek and Oudong which require further investigation in the future.


Training program on Ground Penetrating Radar Surveys

Explanation of the site to the villagers of Krang Kor

MAP