procedures of the past

The Royal plaza and Prasat Suor Prat

Outline of the Conservation

Prasat Suor Prat is a group of tower structures built principally of laterite. Of the twelve towers, the N1 tower and the N2 tower antechamber, which were judged to be most in danger of collapse, were targeted for conservation and restoration by JSA. A preliminary restoration survey began in 1994 with an archaeological study of the terrace. A survey of the current state of each tower was also conducted simultaneously.

The actual conservation and restoration work was launched in May 2001, beginning with the partial dismantling of the N2 tower antechamber. Reconstruction of the building was completed in September 2003. Immediately thereafter, the conservation and restoration of the N1 tower began which involved full-fledged dismantling and reconstruction of the entire building, and was completed in April 2005. In the construction work on the N1 tower, as many as 2,000 laterite blocks and 700 sandstone blocks were dismantled. Of these blocks, 756 laterite blocks and 273 sandstone blocks were repaired and used to reconstruct the building. Furthermore, in the partial restoration of the North Pond, 199 embankment blocks were dismantled. Since only eleven of those blocks were reusable, 320 new laterite blocks, including those for missing elements, were used to reconstruct the embankment.

The conservation and restoration work of Prasat Suor Prat posed many issues, such as the influence of the pond that exists behind the towers and the relationship with the modified terrace.

Fig.1 : Site map

Photo 1: Excavation survey of platform and foundation

Characteristics of Conservation Techniques

There were several characteristics to our conservation of Prasat Suor Prat. First of all, the conservation and restoration work involved the dismantling of a laterite tower structure, which had little precedent at Angkor. EFEO conducted a dismantling repair work of the N3 tower (so named by JSA) between the 1950s and 1960s, but otherwise there were hardly any similar cases involving dismantlement. For this reason, it was necessary to research the masonry method of laterite blocks and to research and develop methods and materials for the repair of elements.

A detailed excavation survey of the foundation and platform was also carried out to elucidate factors causing the inclination of the towers. As a result, the buildings were fully dismantled from the foundation and reconstructed using improved lime soil developed specifically to stabilize the towers and compacted according to a method approximating the original method. This detailed survey and full dismantling of the foundation were also uncommon to conservation and restoration work in the Angkor region, so we believe the results and experiences gained through our work are great achievements that will benefit the future conservation and restoration of other monuments in the Angkor region.




Photo.2: East elevation of Antechamber of tower N1: before restoration (2000)
Photo 3: East elevation of Antechamber of tower N1: after restoration (2005/4)
Photo 4: West elevation of tower N1: before restoration (2000)
Photo 5: West elevation of tower N1: after restoration (2005/4)
Text by Yasushi AKAZAWA on July 2005
Konoike Construction Co.Ltd.,
Director of JSA Siem Reap office (until April 2005)

procedures of the past