Archaeologists from South Korea held a four-day training course in March for Apsara National Authority (ANA) officials and its technical staff to build capacity to use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) machines for archaeological research and scan for artefacts buried underground.

This training course was conducted from March 13-16 in collaboration with the ANA and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) through the Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation (KCHF), according to ANA spokesman Long Kosal.

“In the future, we must know how to harness the potential of modern technology in archaeological research, maintenance, and conservation, as well as sustainable development of Angkor Archaeological Park in a time-effective manner. If we use this modern technology, it will be more accurate than our eyes. So it’s a good thing that we can take advantage of modern technology as much as we can,” he said.

Hyundok Oh, a geologist at South Korea’s National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (NRICH), said archaeologists often use excavation to study archaeological sites or underground structures and such excavations require a lot of labour, time and money.

He said that due to current technological advances, GPR machines have been used to scan for archaeological points of interest underground, which saves time, labour and money.

“This course is focused on the study of both the theory and practice of using GPR machines and learning how to use GPR software on computer systems. The GPR scanner is similar to the X-ray scanner. GPR machines need to be wired to a computer to display data for analysis. However, GPR machines are not as accurate and precise as manual excavation,” he said.

Oh expects that the knowledge acquired at the workshop, both theoretical and practical, will enable all participants to conduct research at other archaeological sites.