Promoting training for restorers in Angkor
Title: Stone Conservation in Angkor
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: APSARA National Authority
Overall term: 2007 to 2023
The World Heritage site of Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. It is the main tourist attraction in Cambodia and a symbol of the country’s national identity. Due to tropical climate conditions and insufficient upkeep during years of political unrest, the condition of the temples is a cause for concern. The sharp increase in visitor numbers up to the COVID-19 pandemic also took a heavy toll on the temples.
Since 1993, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has coordinated the activities of the national and international teams in Angkor Archaeological Park with the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor). Despite the huge need for specialists, there is still no officially-recognised training for experts in stone conservation.
The Stone Conservation Unit in APSARA, the local conservation authority, provides needs-oriented training for its employees.
Since 2011, the Authority for the Protection and Safeguarding of Angkor and the Region of Angkor (APSARA) has received support in setting up and further professionalising its own Stone Conservation Unit and in strengthening the technical expertise of the Unit’s staff. Thanks to continuous training, the local experts are able to maintain their knowledge of new materials and techniques, especially digitalisation techniques, in line with international standards and put this knowledge into practice in a targeted manner.
An initial scheme successfully trained 20 young Cambodians as restorers. This was supplemented by the development of a bilingual stone conservation manual as a model textbook for training programmes in developing countries.
The project has adapted training units to the challenges that ASPARA faces due to the pandemic so that practical training components for stone conservationists and restorers can be maintained.
The aim in future is to offer an adapted training programme for ASPARA staff and, where appropriate, other participants.
Last update: October 2021