2009 年 46 巻 4 号 p. 547-563
Geo-informatics technologies are utilized in the conservation and management of cultural heritage and in related studies. For example, remote sensing (RS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies are utilized as tools for archaeological analysis together with conventional methods. Around the world, RS and GIS technologies have been used to assist archaeologists to pinpoint and identify archaeological sites. With reference to these applications of geo-informatics, the Living Angkor Road Project came up in 2005 with the concept of integrated studies based on interdisciplinary collaboration in an archaeological study in Thailand and Cambodia [Lertlum et al. 2007]. In this project, archaeological and anthropological knowledge was used together with geo-informatics, information and geo-physics technologies to identify, pinpoint and study the ancient road from Angkor in Cambodia to Phimai in Thailand that is described in the inscription of the Pra Khan temple in Angkor, Cambodia.
Application of geo-informatics to this project revealed the following results: (1) Application of GIS/RS confirmed the hypothesis proposed by archaeologists based on the Pra Khan inscription that an ancient road once ran from Angkor in Siem Reap area of Cambodia to Phimai in Nakorn Ratchasima, Thailand. In particular, parts of the ancient road were clearly recognized by analyzing the archaeological sites found standing along a line on satellite images and aerial photographs. (2) Buildings and facilities related with the ancient road, such as ancient bridges, ancient industry sites, and dharmshalas (rest-house chapels), were newly discovered through the same analysis. (3) Predictions and assumptions derived from RS/GIS methodologies were verified by field surveys conducted by specialists in archaeology, anthropology, and informatics. In other words, RS/GIS methodologies also could be used to decide an area of field survey in advance. This approach in area studies exactly corresponds to one of the proposed methodologies of Area Informatics [Shibayama 2005].
This paper describes the role and significance of geo-informatics in the study of the royal road from Angkor to Phimai, presents new findings obtained from application of geo-informatics in archaeological studies, describes how GIS/RS technologies were applied, and discusses effectiveness of applying the satellite image ASTER1) and SRTM2) elevation data in the project.