• Name: Paul McLerran
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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Dig Spotlight: Before Angkor Wat

Although the year 2006 may seem a little far off, it's not too early to reserve your place on a team that will be exploring the roots of the great Southeast Asian civilization that is credited with the famous ruins of Angkor Wat. From January 9 to March 5, 2006, Dr. Charles Higham of the University of Otago, New Zealand, will be leading an expedition of earthwatch teams in Thailand to recover and analyze evidence of a sophisticated indigenous civilization that, he suggests, may have played a major role in the foundations of the culture associated with this spectacular site. The 2006 investigations will focus on the remains of Ban Non Wat, a large mound ringed by banks and moats. A major objective will be to determine the relationship of the site to other nearby prehistoric sites. Ancient settlements dot the landscape of Thailand, many of which were large and complex enough to leave clues of social organization, technology and trade as early as 2000 B.C. Ban Non Wat represents one of these settlements.

As a volunteer, you will excavate and search for human burials, food remains, pottery, metals, and other artifacts. You will dig alongside local villagers and process finds at the field lab. You will stay in the Phimai Inn, which boasts a large swimming pool, hot showers, and air-conditioned rooms, with Western or Thai breakfasts and Thai dinners served under the pavilion next to the swimming pool. The hotel will provide lunch to take to the dig site each day. You will also have convenient access to the market and to Angkor Wat itself for sightseeing.

Not bad for a purposeful, educational experience in a far-off place.

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