APSARA National Authority (ANA) on April 29 affirmed that restoration work on Angkor Wat temple’s central tower-like spire, or “prang” in Khmer, was being exclusively carried out without the use of complex machinery.
ANA deputy director-general Kim Sothin said the temple’s highest spire, or “Bakan Tower”, was surrounded by walls of galleries, making it impossible to bring heavy machinery to aid in the work, which he confirmed had taken more than 10 months through “perseverance and patience”, according to ANA’s April 29 statement.
The statement said it takes the restoration team up to three days to manually lift each new stone to be used as support for older ones and consolidate the spire’s structure.
“The team uses a wooden or metal trolley and at least 12 people to push or pull the new stones from one place to another place as well as also needs to find all the technical methods to consolidate the structure that was damaged due to the age,” ANA said.
Images shared by ANA show that work still remains to be done, even though the authority had predicted on January 6 that restoration would be completed in March-April.
Still, Sothin said the work had seen “unexpected success”, acknowledging that the initial timeframe may have been a bit optimistic given the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also shared that this had been the first times that restoration work at the spire had been done without the use of heavy machinery.
According to the ANA, Bakan Tower had been restored once in the 1930s, during the French colonial period.