Indefinite hibernation

As is painfully obvious, this blog has been infrequently updated for the past several years and will likely be infrequently updated for the foreseeable future.  Still, I periodically receive word that older posts on here are helpful/informative, so I will let it continue to persist as a relic of a different stage of my life.

However, I have been keeping busy.  I maintain an “Alison in Cambodia” facebook page where I regularly post about archaeology news related to Cambodia. This is perhaps the best way to keep up with me and goings-on in Cambodian archaeology.

I also tweet semi-regularly and periodically post on Instagram.

In 2017, I joined the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon as an Assistant Professor and this is where most of my time and energy go. For academic/professional information on me and my work you can check the following:

I am currently PI and co-Director of the Pteah Project investigating Angkorian residential spaces in Battambang province. You can see our project website for some information on our current research! Our upcoming 2020 field season is taking volunteers through the Earthwatch Institute.

I also recently  wrote about our earlier collaborative research at Angkor Wat in The Conversation.

I look forward to hearing form readers of this blog, so please feel free to contact me at acarter4@uoregon.edu.

 

In the field!

In a few days  I’ll be starting our new fieldwork project in Battambang.  I more regularly update on the Alison in Cambodia Facebook page and also post updates and photos on Twitter and Instagram.  You can follow along with our progress there!

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We’ll be undertaking research near Prasat Basaet, near Battambang

 

Cambodian resources on archaeology [UPDATED]

[Update: Already getting suggestions on my Alison in Cambodia Facebook page– new additions are listed below]

A recent study found that Facebook was the main source of news for tech-savvy Cambodians.  I’ve also found there to be an increasing number of Facebook pages by Cambodians that frequently post about Cambodian archaeology – including new developments and news stories that are not always covered in the English-language sources.

As a partner to my informal list of archaeological projects in Cambodia (which will be updated soon), I thought I’d also start a list of some of these resources for those who are interested.  I will note that many are written in Khmer.  (If you don’t read Khmer, Google Translate is doing a better job lately).

The APSARA Authority’s Facebook page.  A great resource and very frequently updated about all manner of APSARA Authority activities.

National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk Facebook page.  Sure to be filled with new developments as this site has recently received UNESCO World Heritage status.

Kerdomnel Khmer Group Facebook page. This page is run by Cambodian archaeologist Chen Chanratana and frequently posts about Cambodian archaeology. A few years ago, they published a couple issues of a  magazine on Cambodian archaeology.

Angkor Sharing Club Facebook Page.  I recently started following this page, which frequently posts and shares posts from other sources on Cambodian archaeology, culture and heritage.

Khmer Youth of the Mekong Delta Facebook Page. This page is not archaeology-focused, but does frequently post about archaeology and culture heritage, especially things related to southern Cambodia.

Saved Team of Cambodian Culture Heritage Facebook Page. This is run by my friend/colleague Tep Sokha and especially focuses on his work related to conservation of Cambodian (archaeological) ceramics.

ខ្យងKhcang Blog. This new blog is run by my friend/colleague Piphal Heng. He has just started, but publishing in Khmer and English. So far, he’s spent some time discussing the name “Sambor Prei Kuk.”

គំនូរក្បាច់បូរាណខ្មែរ និងគំនូរបូរាណខ្មែរ . This roughly translates as Ancient Khmer Ornaments and Drawings. Posts frequently on Khmer decorative arts.

Living with Heritage Project. Their Facebook page description says  “founded by An Raksmey in 2013. We work on cultural research for heritage promotion.”

Have I missed anything? Please let me know in the comments!

Lidar is Magic: Part 2 – Cool new finds

In case you missed it: Lidar is Magic: Part 1 , in which we learned that LIDAR is pretty great, but just one in a suite of tools used by archaeologists. And also, there are no lost cities.

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Lidar image of Pre-Angkorian towers of Sambor Prei Kuk among the trees. Courtesy McElhanney via the Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative (CALI).

The press coverage on the Cambodian Archaeology Lidar Initiative (CALI) has died down a bit now. While many  news outlets focused on the (false) lost city narrative, there were quite a few interesting discoveries presented in Damian Evans’ Lidar paper that I think are worth discussing in more detail. I present some of my favorite findings below in no particular order.  Continue reading

Lidar is Magic: Part 1

[UPDATE: Please check the comments for Damian Evans’ friendly critiques of my comments]

I first visited Angkor in 2005 as a tourist (following a couple months of survey in southern Cambodia).  If you’ve visited Angkor perhaps you, like me, stared out from your tuk-tuk as you breezed pass the thick trees in Angkor Thom and wondered “I wonder what is going on in there?” You might also have recognized that at its height, Angkor and its many temples would not be the vacant ceremonial center that it appears today, but a bustling city and so you might have also wondered “Where were all these people living?”

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Our 2015 excavation of a house mound within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure.

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How the sausage gets made

I’ve had several people contact me with an interest in doing archaeological research in Cambodia and questions about becoming an archaeologist.  Although I’ve discussed this a bit in this post, I realized that not a lot of people know what it’s like to be an archaeologist.  So, I thought I’d take some time to detail my experiences and explain what it is I actually do. Your regularly scheduled news and insights into Cambodian archaeology will return after this post.

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Working with Royal University of Fine Arts students in Cambodia

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Harihara and the early rulers of Cambodia

The return and reunification of the head of a Harihara statue has been in the news as of late. The head was taken to France from the southern Cambodian hilltop temple site of Phnom Da in the 19th century by the French scholar Etienne Aymonier. Phnom Da is just outside the walled city of Angkor Borei, home to the earliest dated Khmer inscription and a central place in what some (including me) might argue was an early state-level society in Southeast Asia.

These statues, although perhaps perceived as primarily art objects now, were intimately tied to the power and status of early rulers. Art Historian Paul Lavy has suggested that the Harihara statues specifically played an important role in the strategies of emerging rulers seeking to expand their power.

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The head of the Harihara from Phnom Da, recently returned and reunited with his body in Cambodia (via).

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