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Martin Polkinghorne, Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, Flinders University of South Australia began his talk by giving an overview of the valuable work being undertaken by Sydney University archaeologists who have excelled in exploring patterns of occupation at Angkor through the use of new technology such as LIDAR. This is a remote sensing technique combining radar and laser technology, which can assist in visualising surface features not easily identified at ground level (for example because most sites are covered by jungle).
Martin discussed how his own work at Angkor has focused on exploring its material culture – how Angkor was built and the craft economy that made this possible. His search for indicators such as extant raw materials, quarries, workshops and unfinished sculptures led him to uncover a workshop northeast of the palace at Angkor Thom which suggested (for example by a fragment of wall furnace) that this was a foundry, the first bronze sculpture workshop found in Southeast Asia.