New life breathed into entrance at Angkor as ancient stairs restored

Archaeologist Phin Vicheasachara said the project's main objective is to fortify the stairs at the eastern entrance, which have weakened due to the deteriorating condition of the sandstone.

Kim Yutharo

Kim Yutharo

The Phnom Penh Post


ANA technical team are restoring and fortifying the ancient stairs of eastern entrance of Angkor Wat temple. PHOTO: ANA/ THE PHNOM PENH POST

August 4, 2023

PHNOM PENH – The dedicated technical team at the Department of Conservation of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology is breathing new life into the famed eastern entrance of Angkor Wat. They are restoring and fortifying the ancient stairs, an undertaking aimed at enhancing the monument’s historical and architectural value.

Archaeologist Phin Vicheasachara has shed light on the ongoing restoration work at Angkor Wat. She revealed that the main objective of the project is to fortify the stairs at the eastern entrance, which have become weakened due to the deteriorating condition of the sandstone.

“Several of the stones are precariously close to falling,” Vicheasachara said. “Our team is set to reposition these stones back to their original places and bolster the pillars, bringing back their former strength”.

This critical update was shared by the Apsara National Authority (ANA) in a social media post on August 1.

Vicheasachara attributed the wear and tear to the passage of time and nature’s elements, which have gradually eroded the monument’s foundational structure.

“Our team has studied the original layout of the entrance and catalogued the stone numbers. We’ve also located missing stones, determining which part of the structure they originated from,” she explained.

“Following this, we examine the foundation, assessing whether it needs repair or fortification. We then decide whether to return the stones to their original place,” she added.

In addition to this, the archaeologist noted that support is being added to the central roof as a preventative measure against potential collapse.

Sharing further insight into the process, ANA spokesman Long Kosal explained that while such renovation work is routinely performed, the ANA had planned this specific restoration project with great care.

“Every day, we consult a risk identification table or risk map, which guides us to areas that need attention,” he elucidated.

He emphasised: “This ensures that we address one location after another in a structured repair process”.

Kosal also explained that the project is approached in a systematic way, with the work carried out according to the maps and a focus placed on prioritising tasks.

“Once one repair is completed, we progress to the next, and then the next,” he concluded, outlining the systematic approach of the ANA team.

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