Geek on patrol

Geek on patrol

German archaeologist Till F. Sonnemann uses the GPR machine in the field with his assistant Hany Boraey.

On Wednesday night, German archaeologist Till F. Sonnemann addressed a gathering at the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient, and claimed he has used ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology to discover multiple Angkorian tower foundations that were previously unknown of.

The GPR machine, which looks like a lawn mower, sends radar signals into the ground where they detect differences in density or electromagnetic properties.

“It’s like the same type of technology that you would use on a plane. The processing unit of the machine calculates the time it takes the radar to bounce back so we can measure distances of anomalies in the ground,” says Sonnemann, a 31-year-old PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. Those anomalies can be substances like metal or sandstone that were used in Angkorian structures.

Whether the towers were ever actually built remains a mystery, but Sonnemann claims he has discovered at least six, possibly eight, of the structures.

He also claimed that it’s the first time that GPR surveys have been used at Angkor on a major scale. Over three field seasons, the surveys have revealed ancient riverbeds and engineered channels. “I’m running around the countryside with the GPR machine trying to figure these things out,” says Sonnemann.

Sonnemann has also surveyed the great Angkor barays and says he’s discovered a new outlet on the eastern side of Indratataka Baray. He’s also come across a few areas that may have been outlets. “We’re not sure yet though. All we know is that there’s laterite floor where the outlet should be.”


  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to