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Researchers working on Angkor wat They have been studying temples, kings and the life of high society for a long time, but now they want to continue working in the place with a new approach, focusing on try to know another aspect of the iconic Khmer Empire (802-1413), that of normal people.
Alison carter, a professor at the University of Sydney and head of the excavation, says it is a very fresh and interesting line of study, explaining: “We have spent a lot of time focusing on the study of temples and inscriptions, members of the elite, we have learned almost nothing from the normal people who lived in the Khmer Empire. I think this project can provide interesting data about the lives of ordinary people.
Carter, an American who has been working in Cambodia for ten years, says that this excavation is the first that will focus directly on the domestic aspects of the Khmer Empire.
The project, titled 'Digging in Angkor: Domestic Archeology at Angkor Wat‘, Started in early June and will continue throughout July, is funded primarily by the National Geographic Society of the US and the Dumbarton Oaks Institute.
The excavation is part of a much larger project, a research initiative led by the University of Sydney. Carter and his international team search for objects of daily life such as jars, kitchen utensils, food or garden waste, to be able to make a portrait of what was the daily life of ordinary people.
The idea for the project came about in 2013 during an excavation at Angkor Wat in which ceramics, kitchen pots, Chinese products and other objects that made people imagine a human presence were found.
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Apart from daily activities tests, Carter and his team also look for evidence of caves in the mounds. «It is a complicated process. It is difficult to study Khmer houses. We are trying to use different strategies to get as much information as we can, ”Carter explains. These strategies include methods that have not been used before at Angkor, such as field analysis, including micro and macro analysis of materials.
Dougald O'Reilly, a researcher in archeology at the Australian National University, has said that the Khmer Empire has always been studied from a macro perspective. "It is exciting to see this kind of research to shed a little light on common life in Angkor and thus gain a better understanding of the past," he said.
Carter has commented that, due to an agreement with the National Geographic Society, cannot explain specific details of the discoveries that have been made so far, but he said the team has uncovered a bunch of pottery that looks like they were used for cooking.
Cristina Castillo placeholder image, a member of the team and belonging to the University of London, is studying botanical remains and explained that they intend to continue investigating residential areas to learn about the diet of common people and their system of farms, which could include agricultural activities near the houses of the people. "After all, rice was something basic, but wheat, fish and animals were also consumed," explained Castillo.
Carter emphasizes that the excavation has only just begun and that they wait have a much broader knowledge of the lives of the inhabitants of the Khmer Empire when it ends.