Famed Angkorian scholar, Dr Damian Evans, whose groundbreaking work included producing the first comprehensive map of the temples of Angkor using airborne laser scanning, has died.
Dr Evans, who died on September 12 in Paris, started studying the temples that comprise Angkor Wat Archaeological Park in the 1990s. The University of Sydney’s PhD research involved producing a comprehensive map of Angkor based on aerial photographs, surveys, and remote sensing data.
In 2007 to 2015, he served as Founding Director of the University of Sydney’s Overseas Research Centre in Siem Reap.
In 2014, he expanded his scope and used advanced sensing technologies, including airborne laser scanning (LIDAR) to map and analyze the urban and agricultural networks of Angkor and beyond.
This uncovered elements that completely transformed the world’s understanding of the ancient cities and how they emerged, as well as how residents transformed the environments in which they lived, and the reasons behind the Angkor Empire’s decline.
“This in turn has broader implications for our understanding of the resilience and sustainability of cities in the face of social and environmental change,” states his biography on the École française d’Extrême-Orient, the oldest international team working at Angkor.
Alison Carter, an archaeologist who has worked in Cambodia since 2005, wrote on her Facebook page that she met Dr Evans in 2008 while in Cambodia carrying out research for her dissertation.
“Damian was also a great writer and editor. I could always count on him to improve a manuscript draft. There were many times I thought I had made a brilliant point in my own work, only to go back and see that Damian said it first, and better,” she wrote.
“Damian was occasionally grumpy, but mostly warm, generous, and funny. We lost him too soon.”
A former student of the scholar also paid tribute to Dr Evans, posting, “Thank you very much for your great work and for inspiring Southeast Asian archaeologists to explore LIDAR technology, which we must change in order to evaluate Angkor and other Southeast Asian archaeological sites.”