How does citizen science support your research?
Good archaeological research requires scientific rigor and trained specialists to maximize data collection. I believe that citizen scientists can contribute to our research objectives by providing the additional “hands on deck” we need to conduct the work that an archaeological field project requires. Citizen scientists assist us in collecting as much data as possible. Financial support from citizen scientists allows us to pay for technical studies that are integral to the work. Last but not least, citizen science – and working with volunteers – helps us explain how our scientific research leads to a better understanding of our human heritage.
What do you enjoy most/what is most interesting about working with The APSARA Authority?
I feel honored to work as an archaeologist in the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and Region of Siem Reap (APSARA Authority), because it provides me with access to the Angkor World heritage site. I have had wonderful opportunities to conduct field studies both in collaboration with international teams and independently on the great Angkorian civilization from its early period to the post-Angkorian period. Results from such fieldwork offer us, especially Khmer people, a better understanding of our Angkorian ancestor’s lifestyle. I view myself as a lifelong student: each time I work in the field, I gain experience in new techniques for studying the past, which I share with colleagues to strengthen Cambodian archaeology.
What is one of your favorite moments in the field?
One of my favorite moments in the field happened when we were excavating an Angkorian stoneware ceramic kiln. We found a covered ceramic box that contained two other smaller containers. It felt like the potters had just loaded their kiln! We learned from this discovery that ancient Khmer potters glazed and loaded some of their pottery into the kilns inside other containers. Sometimes it feels like the people whose remains we study have just walked away from what they were doing: like loading their kiln. This was a great opportunity to learn two things from one excavation.