Between On Site-Conservation and Scientific Computing: A Future for the Twelfth-Century Banteay Chhmar Temple Complex
The twelfth-century Buddhist monastic complex of Banteay Chhmar is still a mystery to travellers and historians alike. It is in a remote location about 160 km northwest of the World Heritage Site of the historic city of Angkor and was built by King Jayavarman VII. It follows a similar layout to his great temple complexes of Preah Khan and the Bayon, with which it shared the unique features of face towers and a bas-relief depicting local life and legends. Set in an arid zone where farming is the principal occupation of its 13,000 inhabitants, the US-based Global Heritage Fund deemed it as meeting the criteria for a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site within an underprivileged community and, in collaboration with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the Department of Computer Science (IWR) of the German University of Heidelberg, has set about repairing and conserving this unique monument, using both traditional conservation philosophy and state-of-the-art virtual restitution with the goal of training a local team in conservation technology and site management, and providing employment and a source of revenue to the community.
KeywordsArchitectural conservation Reconstruction Scientific computing Global Heritage Fund Banteay Chhmar
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