Field Training Program was implemented at SPK from 1st to 12th March 2023 for 12 days. Following members were participants of this program. This program was provided an experience of the archaeological field works at Sambor Prei Kuk and several lectures of the methodology of archaeological/architectural research. We carried out the excavation survey at the vestiges of moat, channel and past rice field for understanding the past environment, land use and social activities in and around ancient city area. In addition, we did Ground penetration Radar Survey at the central area of city and interview survey for villagers for present landuse and traditional cultivation technique.
Trainers at site:
• Shimoda Ichita (University of Tsukuba)
• So Sokuntheary (Norton University)
• Chan Vitharong (National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk)
Participants to the program gathered at the hotel in Kompong Thom at noon except for 4 students who have the examination in their University.
Around 1PM, we left hotel and visited the Prasat Tao and Rosei Roliek temples where are currently surveyed and repaired by National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk. Then, we moved to Prasat Sambor and got a lecture on the detail of present restoration work at N7, N12 and N13 towers by the experts, Mr. Tharong and Mr. Sopheak. These works are the emergency repair for stabilizing the structure by minimum implementations.
Then, we visited the sites where is planned the excavation survey from tomorrow in order to check the present condition with experts of NASPK.
After returning to our hotel at 6PM, we had a meeting and lecture by Shimoda on the methodology of excavation survey and program plan/schedule from tomorrow.
We left the hotel to the site around 7:10 am and arrived at the site at about 8:20 am with the other 13 villagers for help at the excavation site. And 8:45 we arrived at the excavation site and the professor explain the excavation place to Mr. Sopheak and to all the students. Then we were trying to find the center of the moat to make the first trench(A) 2m*1m. We also set up the grid line from the eastern side to the western side for every 1 meter each to find out the section of the moat and the level of the moat. After the professor explain to the students how to use level machines.
Then at 10 am, the villages started to deep down trench A to find out the layer of the soil and we set up trench B at 10m*1m. After that, the professor explained to us about the past natural layer level of the trenches (A). Then we started to deep down trench (B) at 10:30 am and we finished at 11:00. Then professor Ichita explained to the students about the colors charge book of the culture layer to know about each of every layer of the soil and the years of the soil and how to record the soil by using the colors in the book. At about 1:00 Pm we continued to deep down the two trenches and other some villagers cut off the trees to make a straight line to the rice field.
The professor explained how to use the GPS machine to find out the position. Then we continue to deep more the trench B and we found one piece of ceramic from trench B (…) then the professor explained to the trainee how to record the ceramic and at 3:40 pm we also found some pieces of charcoal then 10 minutes before finished today plan professor Ichita tell us about the next day plan and he explained the students about the trench to knows about the last layer of the moat (trench B) also the villagers finished to deep down and clean the trench for today plan.
(Reported by Sim Sereiboth)
At 6:30a.m we gathered at the bus station, our bus departed for Kampong Thom at 7:30am and we arrived at the hotel at 11:00am. Then we met up with Senior Narak and stopped for lunch then we went straightly to the site.
At 12:15a.m we met up with Professor Ichita Shimoda and fellow participants, we introduced ourselves to the group then Professor gave us a lecture about the excavation plans. He explained us the purpose of the excavation and shown us the trenches that they have dug. Trench A is 1 x 2 meters and the purpose of this trench is to find the level of the water (underground) from the ground level down. Apparently, the level from the ground down to the underground water is about 1.1 meter. Trench B is 1 x 10 meter and the main purpose of this excavation is to understanding the layers of soil. There are 3 main layers that lay on top of each other, on top is the Black layers, second the White layer and beneath both of these layers is the Orange layer. Lastly, at the excavation site Prof. Ichita has explain to us the plan to dig up a new trench (Trench C) which is 1 x 6 meters in square meter. Also the reason the excavate this new trench is the understand the history of this rice field by finding out the Date back to when people used to farm in this area at Chenla era. In order to discover the age of this rice field, we have to find charcoal which will be taken to laboratory in Japan to do the scanning.
After 30 minutes of visiting the site, Prof. Shimoda suggested that we should visit the temples areas first. Then, Senior Narak brought us to visit 3 main temples areas. The first one is Sambo temple group then Tao temple group and the last one is Yeyporn temple group. And for our preference, we really liked the Chrey temple in the Sambo temple group because it has a unique architecture style. Then at 3:30pm we went to Sambor village then briefly stopped at Sambor pagoda. After that, we stopped at the Tourism Information Office then went back straightly to the hotel. And at the end of the day, we had a little meeting with everyone to talk about the origin of this training program and discuss more about the plans for tomorrow and onward.
(Reported by Leap Sok An)
At the morning we left the hotel at 7:11 am. We worked with 12 villagers. We continue to excavate trench A and B. At the site we extended line to the west and leveling every 1 meter. After that we continue digging a Trench A from to the water come out then we stop digging at that trench. And continue digging trench B. On the morning, Japanese group visit the site and Dr. Ichita explained them about our excavation. At 12:20 5 students come to the site and Dr. Ichita explained about our work and Mr. Rarak take them to visit at SPK before they start the excavation survey at the site. Next we stay open the new site at the East then we note it by trench C (1X 6 m) and stat digging.
After we came back to the hotel, we have one lecture by Dr. Ichita about Sambor prei kuk conservation project.
(Reported by Sun Sambath)
We departed Sambor Village Hotel around 7:05am and arrived at the site at 7:45am . We were divided into three groups. The first group, consisting of three trainees, was to work at trench B with the villagers who were the local workers.
The second group worked at trench C which consisted of only one trainee and some local workers. The last one was trench D which was opened at 9:40 am. The villagers who were at trench B then moved to trench D .
About trench B. First, we started cleaning the trench’s wall, then drew the layers of the soil and the section also. A professor explained about the layers and then used the Soil Color Reader machine to analyze the soil’s color as some layers had similar colors and some consisted of iron debris. After that, as we finished drawing the section, we headed to trench C at around 3:30 pm to draw layers of the soil and its section.
At the trench C in the morning we start continue deep down more and we found limonite and new layer. Afternoon we continue deep down again start form 1:00 pm to 4:00pm with five villages. When we deep down around height 1.31m we stop deep down more because water is coming so we just clean the wall and drawing the section and color charge with Mr.Seriboth , Mr.Narong ,and Mrs.Marady, finally we take the pictures and then finished at about 4:30 pm.
(Reported by Srey Samboungarong)
We left the hotel at 7:00 am and arrived at the site at 8:00 am. After that Professor told us what’s the plan for today and explained to us how to measure the soil then Prof. Ichita had layout the new trench (D) which measured to be about 84 meters away from trench A to West. Around 9:00 am Prof. Ichita and senior Narak explained to us how to use and set up the level machine. Afterward, we started to measure the ground level from trench (A) to trench (D). At 11:00 am we stopped for lunch break.
At 1:00 pm, six villagers started to dig up the soil. After about 10 minutes of digging, we found a piece of earthenware and after about 3 hours of digging we have found about 38 packages of Earthenware scattered all around the trench (D). And these pieces earthenware were mostly found between the depth of -20 to
-30cm. We and the villagers have assumed that these pieces of earthenware are mostly pot pieces. After that, prof. Ichita told us about the plan for tomorrow, and at 4:40 pm we left the site and came back to the hotel to get some rest and start prepare for dinner.
(Reported by Mol Nyta)
In the morning, Professor Shimoda showed us how to record and draw the artifacts. After that, He left the hotel to wait for all the Japanese experts that came from Siem Reab. We stayed at the hotel washed, and took photos of unearthed artifacts. Sambath and Narong are taken the photos. Narak, Sokan, Ratanak, Dane, and Nyta washed the artifacts. Marady and Both recorded the stratigraphy from trenches B and C. We left the hotel at 11 am to have lunch and finish around 11:40 am.
We went to Kompong Thom Palace to take Professor Shimoda and all Japanese experts to the excavation site.
We arrive at the site around 1:30 pm. All Japanese experts went to trenches B and C and analyzed what kind or type of soil and layers. At trench D, We continued from yesterday at around 50 cm and stopped at 90cm. We didn't find any artifacts as much as yesterday, only some charcoals ( around 80cm depth). We finished around 4 pm.
At the hotel, We had a lecture about Paddy Field In Yayoi Period. This lecture is very interesting. We learned a lot about the difference between the paddy field at Nakanshi Site and Sombor Prei Kuk Site.
(Reported by Pen Channarak)
Around 7:15 am in the morning, we got on the bus and pick up prof. Ichita and all Japanese experts to get to the site. We arrived at the site at 8:20 am. After a little walk from car to the trenches, profs. Ichita showed us the currently plan for today to (1) Finish digging up trench D (2) Connect the trench A to B which is trench F (5 meters) (3) Start the exaction on the pond (trench E) (4) Redraw the Section plan on trench C.
At Trench D, Rothnak, Nyta, Dane, and 2 other villagers start digging up the soil at about 9 am. After 5mins we hit the hard soil layers, we continue digging up the hard soil until 10:45 am we finally found a piece of charcoal that was at the depth of 108 centimeters on the hard soil layers. This piece of charcoal was also verified by professors and experts to be valid after we had a delicious lunch as well. Right after lunch we went back to the trench with prof. Ichita to check out the help out and also analyze the trench. After Prof. Ichita analyze the trench, he went to call the archeology expert to better analyze the soil layers. He drew out the trench to have 5 layers of soil, (1) White sand (2) Wet loose sand (3) Loose sand (4) Hard soil (5) Hard soil (Natural layers). Then we start learning and drawing the Soil Stratigraphy of trench D on a 1/20 scale. 30 mins later prof. Ichita. showed us how to use the Soil Color Reader and the Metal Level Reader to record for trench D. At the finally hour of the day, all professors came to gather at Trench D and one Professor also came to collect the soils samples for further research as well.
(Report by Som Vanserey Rothnak)
About trench C in the morning, archaeology expert with professor Shimoda started to clean up the trench wall and recorded the soli stratigraphy and use Soli Colour Reader to record the colour of the soil and another professor also collected the soil. At the evening student training start recorded soli stratigraphy again with book colour chart.
(Report by Sambath Sun)
Around 3:10pm we have a meeting in trench E for explained about fossils of insect by Dr. Mori and he collected the soils for analysis. He told the students that if we found some insect we can knew about the climate and lifestyle of the peoples. Around 3:30pm we drilled the soil around 185cm we found the clays layer and we stopped to deep down more. He told us he took this soil samples to Japan for more analysis and to the laboratory.
(Report by Srey Sambunnarong)
We left the site at 4:30 pm to get back the hotel and prepare for a meeting. By 6:30pm we had a meeting all together at the hotel, which is presented by Doc. Mori. The meeting was mostly focused about the insect fossils that were found at the archaeologist site around Angkor Thom area. He explained to us on how the insect fossils can be informative about how was the environment during that period, etc. The presentation was very interesting. Shortly after the presentation ended, Prof. Ichita gave us a little speech about what we will be doing for tomorrow and for the next few days.
(Report by Tem Dane)
At 7:15 am, we took the bus off from our hotel and went to pick up prof. Sokuntheary then pick up prof. Ichita and other Japanese experts and after that we went straightly to the site to meet the Director Department of Land management, Mr. Em Sreang. He introduced and explained us a lot about this new area which is located in a northern path from our previous site. Our plan for the today were to take a look around the village then visit the water channels at O Kru Ke and then find the perfect spots for our next excavations. And luckily, we found 3 perfect places and opened three new trenches which are (G1) (G2) and (G3).
Reported by Dane
Trench G1: We about to started dig down this trench around 9:15 am in the morning with the villagers and Mr. Sambath and Sereiboth charged here also another member visited another place of northern side of city area then about 9:40 we found a piece of charcoal 30cm deep. Then around 100cm deep the soil is very soft and around 110cm the soil is started to change the color and the water is coming up and we found 8 layers of this trench. After that the professor have been discussing about the layer of the soils. They discussed about the color of the particle size or hardness of the soil; the upper layer is hard and then the under more is fine it kind of silt. And they collected the sand and they will bring to Japan for analyze by machine to know about the components of the soil so we can identify about the past of using of these moats. And we started again around 2pm to check the color of the trench by using the soil color reader and magnetic machine which is record by Mr. Rothanak and Ms. Nyta.
Reported by Sereiboth
Trench G2: After walking from trench G1 around 1km. We found another place to open the next excavation then we started to dig down the trench around 10:50 am but since it’s already a lunch time for the villagers, they stopped at 11:00 am then we, Prof, Sokuntheary, Narong, Marady, Rothnak and Dane take turns continue digging down on our owns until around 12:00 pm. We got to see that, the second layer was such a sticky soil so it’s a little hard to dig down, but then we found a lot of charcoals around -40 to -50cm depth. Then, we stopped for lunch at 12:00 pm.
Around 3:00 pm, prof. Ichita, Rothnak, Nyta, Sambath and Marady along with the local authority went back to trench G2 to record the Metal level and the color of the soil of all 7 layers (once every 5cm). As we were doing the recording prof. Ichita found yet another piece of charcoal at around the depth of -70cm. And finally, after the Metal and Color recording, prof. Ichita collected the soil from the top down (once every 5cm) and he was also using the Hand Auger to drill down below the bottom of the trench to collect the soil below as well to the depth of -160cm.
Reported by Dane & Rothnak
Trench G3: At 2:00 pm, we started to open the new trench (G3) which is near the trench G1. We started to dig the trench with the size of 1x2m. Then the villagers dig down more and more until we found some charcoals on the second layer of the soil. Then at 4:00 pm, all of the villagers went back to their homes then Senior Narak started digging more on his own until the end of the day.
Reported by Marady
Then by 5:00 pm we all left the site and on our way back to the hotel, we briefly stopped at one villager’s house to see how the sugar palm was made. After that, we arrived at the hotel then we had a meeting which is presented by prof, Kubo and prof, Nagumo. The meeting was about the Geographical survey of Sambor Prei Kuk. After the presentation ended, we got to learned about the new thing which is about the differences of the water level between the rainy and dry season. And lastly, we finished the meeting around 8:00 pm.
Reported by Dane
In the morning, around 7:00 AM we go to sites but first, we pick up Japanese experts and professor Sokuntheary. When we arrived at the site we star continued our work and divided into 2 groups one group in the northern part and another group in the Western part. We open the new 2 sites. Marady and Sokan work at Tench H and Dane and Naroung work at tench. Trench H is from the West near trench A to the East embankment about 1 * 11.15m with 10 villagers. We dug down the white sand layer then we stop on the white layer. We found three bricks and one sandstone (?) in trench H. Around 9:40 AMwe found one brick, Then around 10:20AM we found another brick and around 10:40 AMwe found one brick and one sandstone. At 11:00 AMit was lunchtime after that at 1:00 we counted our excavation.
In the evening we stop digging and start drowning the section of the layer at trenches A, B, H, and I, and we take some soil by 5cm.
(Report by Tao Marady)
Prof. Ichita , Prof. Fujiki, Nyta, Rothnak and Sambath arrived at the trench G3 site around 8:30AM, and then prof, Ichita checked the level of soil. Nyta Rothnak and Sambath set up the level machine and measure the level between G1 to G3. G3 is higher than G1 116cm. At 9 am, One professor that to take the soil sample from the trench G3. At 9:10 am prof. Ichita went to G2 for about 10 minutes to check the IV trench. Around 9:30 prof. Ichita and Rothnak interviewed one of the villagers about the Water Channel to understand the Water level, months of the rise and fall of the water level, and the water system throughout the village. 2.5 m from the water level in the well. At 10 am we left trench G3 and went back to meet up with the rest of the team at the west side of the moat.
At 10:30 Profess Ichita, nyta sambath and rothnak arrived at the west side and nyta helped senior narak and sokan to dig trench B. At 11:40 am and we have a nice lunch. At 4:30 pm Nyta drew section A and trench A has 4 layers. After that, At 5:23 pm we left the site.
(Report by Mol Nyta)
In the morning, we started by opening trench I, a 1-by-10 square meters trench, at around 9:00 am. There, we've found some charcoal fragments. After that, Professor Motomura, an expert of rice spear and excavation from Japan, wanted to open more new trenches and explained to us why he wanted to. The reason was that he wanted to examine how the layers of the soil had been changing.
Later in the afternoon, Professor Shimoda Ichita explained to us why the natural soil was lying so low beneath the sediments. Then, my teammates and I started sketching the soil's layers of trench B and later trench A. In the evening, we had a discussion in which they analyzed and tried to match the soil's layers from the three trenches mentioned above.
(Report by Srey Sombounaroung )
On the morning, prof. Shimoda, Fujiki, and Mori visited the Trench G1-3 for taking soil sampling and photo record. Other members started the excavation work Trench H and I for acrossing the west moat with Dr. Yamaguchi and Motomura. In total, excavation trench at west side of moat is nearly 40m width and confirmed the continuous soil stratigraphy.
This afternoon, one of team started two excavation trenches at the middle of moat near north west corner. Soil layer was quite different from middle part of west moat.
We got a lecture from Prof. Fujiki on the "pollen study" for reconstructing past climate, landuse and human activities. He explained the project at Cook Island in polinesia.
We arrived at the site around 8:00 and started to discuss trench J (1-2) at 8: 25 about the professor explained the layer of trench J1 and J2 to the students. We separated into 3 groups some other Students is going to the village for interviews with the villagers about rice production in the city area. And the trench J2 we found a piece of charcoal. Around 9:00 am some students started to draw the section of trench J1 and J2. And trench J2 started to draw the section at the north site again. after that Professor Fujiki started to take the sediment samples, then we measured the magnetic and soil colors.
Around 10:10 am the expert from Japan started to collect the soil for analysis. At about 10:30 am, the professor explained the rice fields and started the new excavation trench (K) 1m*5m. At 12:00 pm we stopped for 1h for lunch. Professor Ichita divided us into 3 groups: 3 students went to the village to do the interview with Professor Theary, 1 student went to Trench C to take the soil sample with Professor Mori, and the rest go to Trench K to continue the excavation. We finished in the morning.
And we start to deep down again around 1:30 pm. At about 2:30 pm started to discuss the layer of the trench. At 14:20 pm we reached the orange layer at the depth of 87cm. We extended the trench 0.5m eastward and dug down about 80cm then we find some traces that look like the footsteps of the animal (wild pig, cow, ox…etc) and some plant traces. After the Professors started to make a layer of the sediments on the south wall and took the soil samples then we measure the magnetic and soil colors again. And about 2:30 pm we extended to the east 1m more and the other started to measure levels every 50cm. Then we drew the section and the professor started to collect the soil for every 5cm in this trench (K). after that the professors stated to discuss the trench layer again and some of the students started to measure for 0.50m for making the level. Then we took photos together at the excavation site then we finished today’s plan.
The other members interview the villager.
At 9:30 am Prof. Sokuntheary, Rothnak, Nyta, and Narong went on the bus to interview some of the villagers at Cheay village and Kompong Chheu Teal village about traditional rice cultivation. Around 9:50 am we were around Cheay village and went into interviewed the first house of the day. The main questions that we were asking the villagers were (1) Where is/are their rice fields? (2) Dry season or Rainy season (3) When do they start? (4) Farming method? (5) what type of rice? (6) Harvest month? (6) Harvest result? (7) Farm size? And more. At the end of the day (5 pm) we interviewed over 12 villagers on the topic of rice cultivation. In conclusion, all villagers in Cheay village farm rice in the rainy season, however, villagers on Kompong Cheu Teal farm have both Rainy and Dry seasons.
After returning the hotel, we got a lecture from Dr. Yamaguchi on the Chinese ceramic. It is wonderful lecture to know the trading and producting the ceramic in various area in China. Finally, we handed the sourvenir to all Japanese experts for expressing the thanksful for this program.
Report: By Sereiboth and other students
We departed from our hotel at 8:00 am in the morning then we went with two separate cars to visit our first site again. After we arrived at the site, senior Narak started to stamp the date of today and the name of Sambor Prei Kuk’s authority on the nickels to put in at the bottom of every trench before we fill them up again. Then Marady and the villagers went to fill up trench C, D and E back.
Professors had invited villagers from the O Kru Ke village, then we gave them a little presentation about ‘’why we dig up all these trenches, why is it important to do so and why we should protect this heritage place all together’’. After that, we started to showed them the earthenware that we found. Then Narong and prof. Sokuntheary started explaining them about the soil layers of the trenches for them to understand better. Then it’s a lunch time so we all offed to grab lunch at the Community’s market.
After the lunch time, we were divided into two groups, one group consisted Marady, Narong and prof, Ichita. They went back to visit J1 and J2 trench to find some more charcoals. And additionally, prof. Ichita even recorded the video of the trench and voiceover it. Then he asked the villagers to fill up the trenches back. And for the other group, we went back to the hotel to do the stuff that prof had told us. We separated the tasks for each other. Nyta and Rothnak were in charge of collecting data and put it into Excel, Sereiboth was in charge of converting the section drawings of the trenches into a digital one, meanwhile that, Sambath and Sokan were taking photos of the earthenware that we found from all trenches. And in the evening, the other group came back from the site, then we all helped each other doing our works together until dinner’s time.
Reported by: Tem Dane
Today is the final day of this training program.
On the morning, Prof. Shimoda and Narak visited to site and search chacoals for dating again in the excavated tranches. Other members carried out respective works such as section drawing, photo recording and drawing of unearthed artifacts, making graph of magnetic and color value of each soil layer, recording the interview result of traditional rice products from villagers, etc.
Then, we hold a final meeting and Prof. Shimoda and Sokuntheary talk on the results of this program and expection of the students future. Finally, certificate papers were handed over to every participants. We had a lot of experience, knowledge and technique for research and conservation of heritage site during this program.
All of the field survey, interior works and lectures were completed, then we go back to Phnom Penh.
After completing traing program, we did additonal survey with two students, Sambath and Narong. In order to identify the existence of buried structure, we carried out GPR survey at several areas in city zone.
World Heritage Program, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, UNIVERSITY of TSUKUBA