Recently I had the pleasure of accompanying part time archeologist, Monique Galloway, to the well known Angkorian sight of Kbal Spean. Not far from the Angkor complex, this sacred sight is famed for it’s Hindu rock carvings and lingams scattered along the spring fed waterfall. However, beyond what most people witness lies more clues to this ancient sight’s history.
My recent interest in photogrammetry caught Monique’s attention. Her back ground is the study of rock art and aboriginal workings. The ability to show rock art in 3D may have benefits for future exploration and certainly allows artwork to be studied world wide without the need to visit remote sights.
It takes around 45min to climb the 1.5 kilometer track. The pathway is fairly steep in places, but the tree covering offers good shade. Around two thirds of the way up, Monique spotted some laterite. I would not have looked twice as it is common around Angkor park. However, this is the only place that had laterite on our assent. Further investigation gives the impression of a possible settlement in this area. Certainly not apparent to the untrained eye.
Once at the waterfall, Monique showed me what could be ancient art or indeed modern Khmer graffiti. The first of three maybe female carvings certainly has more to it than what Monique’s first impression. Modeling this gives the ability to control light / shadows over a 3D surface revealed what appears to be some figure with a spear, or is this just a natural formation? I am certainly not an expert on this. Hidden among the Hindu carvings and caves are more rock carvings, which may or may not be some sort of art. Also, in places there is Khmer script. I am in the process of getting these dated and translated. More to follow.