Dancing Shiva & Angkor Project Group

Dancing Shiva

In our 2011 and 2013 IWR Campaigns in Cambodia and France, we scanned about 70 parts of the Dancing Shiva, a 6 m high statue from the temple Prasat Thom in Koh Ker. Shiva, meaning “The Auspicious One” is as well the god of destruction or transformation, and is one of the most important deities in Hinduism. Today only few of the fragments of this statue are located on-site, most of them are distributed over various museums in Cambodia and France. The fragments among hundreds in the archives of the museums where chosen in collaboration with our partners of the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) and the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The dancing Shiva belongs to a complex group since the god was surrounded by at least four other statues. Now this group was reconstructed virtually and replaced in the digitally reconstructed temple context. Thereby a realistic impression of the ancient cultural site was revealed. Due to the thoroughgoing investigations, the proof could be furnished that the King’s temple of Koh Ker had the purpose of intramural burials.

Link to project website.

Name and contact of project members at IWR:

Christian Seitz, Sonja Speck, Dominik Neusser, Chamroeun Khim, Hubert Mara, Susanne Krömker (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)

Involved scientists and partners

Eric Bourdonneau (École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), France),
Pheakdey Nguonphan (Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Cambodia)

Musée Guimet, Paris, France,
Preah Norodom Sihanuk Museum, Siem Reap, Cambodia,
National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Online references:

Angkor entdecken/Angkor découvert, arte documentary, a film of Frédéric Wilner, 2013.


Angkor Project Group

The aim of the Angkor Project Group, APG, is a close collaboration among students with different cultural and educational backgrounds, transferring knowledge based on direct contacts. For example in her PhD thesis, Anja Schäfer is concerned with a stone puzzle. As ground truth a wall of the temple in Bantaey Chhmar with bas-relief had been documented while still standing on-site. Due to restoration purposes the wall was deconstructed and each of the 51 stones were scanned from outside with a high-resolution optical 3D scanner. With these 3D data the wall is automatically reconstructed. The knowledge gained so far may serve for other walls in the future where no ground truth is available. Instead of moving around heavy stone blocks, a 3D scan of each stone in consideration can be placed virtually and automatically before starting with any real reconstruction.

Link to project website.

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Link to association’s website.

Name and contact of project members at IWR:

Julia Freudenreich, Martina Trognitz, Holger Altenbach, Christian Seitz, Dominik Neusser, Chamroeun Khim, Anja Schäfer, Susanne Krömker, Michael Winckler, Hans Georg Bock (Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University)

Involved scientists and partners
John Sanday (Global Heritage Fund),
Pheakdey Nguonphan (Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Cambodia),

National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Schäfer, H. Mara, J. Freudenreich, S. Krömker and H. G. Bock: Visualization and Documentation of Weathered Bas-Reliefs using Close-Range 3D-Scanners, in: Proc. of 7th International Conference on Science and Technology In Archaeology and Conservation, Workshop on Documentation and Conservation of Stone deterioration in Heritage Places (CIPA/ICOMOS), Petra, Jordan, 2010