Banteay Srei Conservation Project (BSCP)

Who is working on the project?

The Banteay Srei Conservation Project is a joint conservation project involving the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and APSARA Authority, which represent, respectively the Swiss and Cambodian governments.

The Banteay Srei Conservation Project involves architects, engineers and archaeologists, specialists and students. They are continuously trained in the methods and techniques of monumental conservation within the context of an SDC – APSARA collaboration that transcends the traditional issues of cooperation and means to be exemplary. Further more, they take advantage of the expertise that UNESCO provides at its annual ICC conference.

Archaeology: Local staff are trained to carefully excavate ancient artifacts.


Duration of the project

The Banteay Srei Conservation project started in summer 2002. The ceremony for the completion of the Banteay Srei Conservation Project is planned for spring 2005.


What are the goals of the project?

The project aims to:

  •  protect the temple from further damage
  •  rehabilitation of the exciting surface wakes excavation system
  •  highlight the monument in its actual state
  •  develop its surroundings
  •  establish a visitor path

Methodology

The implementation of the project calls on the methodology recommended by the international experts and initiated by APSARA Authority in terms of cultural significance and in terms of associated archaeological research techniques.

There are two main phases to the conservation project: diagnosis and restoration.
During the first phase, architectural and archaeological studies were conducted inside the monument and around its perimeter for the environmental and structural assessment of the site as a whole. The comparative analysis of the surveys carried out on different levels and scales and the progressive interpretation of the disorders will allow for the diagnosis to be completed and for a detailed restoration program to be established appropriate to the site.


Diagnosis

This diagnosis of the monument and its perimeter revealed the extent of the damage to the structures and the importance of environmental issues. Subsequent analysis produced four main categories of architectural disorders.

Cat. 1: Structural disorders caused by the effects of water and the weakness of the foundation
Cat. 2: Structural and accidental disorders caused by surrounding trees
Cat. 3: Degradation of the stone due to the effects of water, the micro fauna and the micro flora
Cat. 4: Degradation to the stone due to human influence (looting, mechanical stress, etc.)

Assessment: Drawing of a cross-section of Long Room II NW


Restoration

The significant material produced by careful diagnosis and analysis allows the project to recommend solutions appropriate to the conservation issues facing this specific site. Category 1 and 2, structural disorders due to the water, call for an efficient drainage system. Category 2, accidental disorders, requires initiatives for the conservation of the surrounding walls. Apart from determining the restoration choices, the preliminary results of diagnosis and analysis strengthen our conservation philosophy, which is to:

  •  accept the actual state of the temple. The age and the disorders are essential elements to comprehend the present situation.
  •  respect the original conception, construction and subsequent interventions
  •  preserve integrity and authenticity of the monument
  •  keep the elements in their historical context
  •  search for the reversibility of our intervention
  •  search for the slightest possible intervention
  •  understand the old techniques and learn how to use them. New technologies should be used only under the condition of long-term experience in climate and context.

Ancient drainage system: Outlet and damaged tiers.


Maintenance

The Banteay Srei Conservation Project is limited in duration. The handover to APSARA Authority will not only include the complete documentation of the diagnosis and the restorations carried out, but also a maintenance program for a continuous survey of the monument. It will include a monitoring system for the structural disorders, a plan for the surrounding vegetation, as well as a proposal for the visitor flow.


Links

General page on the Banteay Srei temple

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation,
sponsor of the Banteay Srei Conservation Project


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