2. STRATEGIC ISSUES
The following five major strategic issues, or fields of vital interest were identified by the experts and recommended as points of orientation in any further interventions in the entire historical area of Angkor:
A. SECURITY AND PROTECTION
B .PRESERVATION, RESTORATJON AND PRESENTATION
C. ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH
D. ENVIRONMENT AND HYDROLOGY
E. INFORMATION STRATEGY
This report will deal with the recommendations of the Experts consultation for each of these issues or fields of vital interest.
A.SECURITY AND PROTECTION
In view of increased security problems, witnessed by continued theft of sculptures from the Angkor monuments, and objects from the Angkor Conservation Office storerooms, the experts recommended that urgent measures be taken to reinforce the security guards at the Angkor Conservation Office and to establish a regular patrol and monitoring system of the Angkor Park in close cooperation with the Cambodian authorities and UNTAC Civil Police and military components. UNESCO’s on-going discussions with UNV (United Nations Volunteers) to explore possibilities of organizing a team or “Green Berets” for cultural and environmental protection at a global level can be pursued through specific discussions of setting up such a team for Angkor.
It is recommended that, as a matter of urgency, structural studies and investigations (infrastructure and Superstructure) be undertaken of the “mountain temples” especially at BAKONG (where a wall recently collapsed}, at PRE RUP, PIMEANAKAS (where inclination of the comers (-tassements d’angles”) is a cause for concern), MEBON and ANGKOR WAT, where a monitoring or the deformations is under way.
It is recommended that studies of the structural dynamics of the superstructures of the flat temples be carried out where movements of their foundations -also on a sand base, occurs a phenomenon which is general for Khmer temples and compounded by the effects of vegetation overgrown. On the basis of these studies and investigations, emergency temporary structural support should be provided to those galleries and vaults in imminent danger of collapse.
B. PRESERVATION, RESTORATION AND PRESENTATION
It is recommended that the Cambodian nationa1 authorities (i.e. NHPAC) promulgate guidelines for the identification, excavation. Protection, preservation, conservation and presentation of the historic monuments and archaeological sites following the established international standards of NESCO and ICOMOS. Internaiona1 teams working at Angkor will be expected to comply strictly with these guidelines.
It is recommended that restoration work be preceded and accompanied by a thorough consultation of the existing documentation relating to previous interventions, in particular those undertaken by the EFEO, and that the various missions involved in restoration associate archaeologists and historians in their work. The EFEO and other teams who have worked at this site should ensure that insofar as possible copies of all relevant documentation is deposited in the UNESCOINHPAC Documentation Centre in the Angkor Conservation Office and therein available for consultation by all authorized researchers and teams.
It is recommended that treatment of the stones should only be undertaken if a careful study show it to be indispensable in securing the preservation of the monument and if there are guarantees of reversibility and assurance that the aesthetic value is fully respected. It is recommended that under the auspices of UNESCO, a comprehensive scientific study of stone treatment be undertaken, options evaluated and rigorous treatment guidelines established for conservation work at Angkor.
It is recommended that every occasion be taken for training Cambodian personnel at all levels on the site and elsewhere and that, in particular, one Cambodian hydrologist, architect, engineer, archaeologist, historian, etc. (even students) be systematically associated with any foreign expert in the same specialty on mission for research or other work at the site and elsewhere in Cambodia. International teams working at Angkor should undertake to finance the cost of the participation of the Cambodian counterparts within their project budgets.
It is recommended that appropriate paths on the various sites be arranged for visitors, taking into account the historical interest of the monuments, but also the security of the visitors and that indications be made in Khmer, English and French with the symbol of the World Heritage Convention at the entrances of the monuments and with a standard formula to be agreed upon by the national authorities (i.e. NHPAC) in consultation with UNESCO and comprising, inter alia. the following elements:
- Name of monument;
- NHPAC authorization number;
- Indication of donor source;
- Name of implementing agency;
- Indication that the project comprises an approved part of the international UNESCO programme for the safeguard of Angkor;
- Symbols of Cambodia, UNESCO and the World Heritage and the implementing agency.
It is recommended that a visitors’ information centre be established within the park by the National Authorities (i.e. NHPAC) in collaboration with UNESCO, and that information brochures be prepared for the major sites.
C. ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH
With regard to international archaeological research, it is recommended that surveys, test-excavations and dating of materials be undertaken within the framework of the overall development plan. It is recalled that such work be based on historic knowledge of the site and in accordance with international standards governing archaeological work. Until such time as an archaeological survey of the site is completed and excavation and recording guidelines are established by the National Authorities (i.e. NHPAC), it is recommended that a total moratorium on an archaeological excavation, except for emergency salvage work, be strictly enforced.
Recent field research carried out within the context of ZEMP has substantially altered previous perceptions about the prehistoric habitation of the Angkor Plain. The slightly elevated circular mounds found in the Angkor region are indications of a high-density pre-Angkorian occupation of the site. Careful preparations should be taken to protect these ancient sites from looting, pending the future possibility of excavation and research on this important part of Angkor’s pre-and proto-historical development.
It is recommended to examine with the Cambodian authorities the possibilities for UNESCO to launch an international archaeological programme such as those undertaken in other World Heritage sites.
D. ENVIRONMENT AND HYDROLOGY
The guidelines and strategies for environmental management which will be recommended by the UNESCO/ZEMP Project undertaken at the request of the World Heritage Committee should be given priority and resources identified for their implementation. It is especially recommended that the ZEMP study area be expanded to the west and that consideration be given to the inclusion of the Tonle Sap wetlands area into the Angkor World Heritage Site.
E. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
Continuous flow of inter alia, satellite, aerial and photogrammetric images should be provided to and through UNESCO to every expert team Or Individual researcher working on the site.
It is recommended that a detailed Information Strategy for Angkor (ISA) be developed to organize the extensive but often inconsistent information presently available. ISA should address all types of legal, technical and practical problems regarding collection, maintenance, dissemination and management of information. Copies of all available information should systematically be deposited with the UNESCO/NH PAC Documentation Centre located in the Angkor Conservation Office, in order that all researchers and conservation teams working at Angkor may have access to this information.