Temple Watch: Care for Koh Ker

Temple Watch: Care for Koh Ker

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After 1,000 years of abandonment to the jungle and looters, the temple city of Koh Ker is now getting the attention of restorers. The Angkor Foundation, based in Budapest, has just commenced a three-year program involving a small team of Hungarian archaeologists and environmental experts. A small survey team is working on a mapping project and work had already started stabilising hazardous structures.

Outside the entrance gopura of the pyramid of Prasat Thom lies an unstable laterite building which was in danger of falling down. This has now been temporarily stabilised by wood and brick. The moated area of the central sanctuary was cleared of vegetation in 2007, leaving unattractive piles of brick rubble. The brick sanctuaries have small areas of original stucco, but were in a very poor state. Some of the most unstable structures are now being shored up. The outlying Prasat Damrei, or Elephant Temple, had gaping cracks in the brickwork. Timber supports have enclosed the tower and the stone elephants within it.  Nearby, at Ang Khna reservoir, a number of large ancient carvings including lizards, fish, snakes and crocodiles have recently been unearthed.

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