Michael Tomlan: Preserving the Sacred

March 29, 2011

CRP professor Michael Tomlan has been on study leave this semester, but he's been far from dormant. Tomlan is finishing up his textbook Historic Preservation: Caring For Our Expanding Legacy and has been concentrating on two historic preservation planning projects — in the Banteay Meanchey province of Cambodia and in the village of Rakhigarhi in India.

In Cambodia, Tomlan is assisting the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to develop a master plan for the Bantaey Chhmar, a temple complex located in the northwest region of the country. With the support of the Heritage Watch International, Tomlan is working with local, provincial, and national government officials to formulate a comprehensive preservation plan for the site to prevent further looting, deal with infrastructure issues, and ensure that the area's emerging tourism industry does not displace local residents.

In India, Tomlan is conducting research for the Global Heritage Fund that will be used to develop a preservation plan for the area around Rakhigarhi, a small village located west of Delhi in the Indus Valley. Archeological research suggests that the current Rakhigarhi sits on top of a hill filled with ancient artifacts that have the potential to provide valuable insight into the nature of migration patterns and activities of the Harrapan civilization. Tomlan's work is focused on protecting the land surrounding Rakhigarhi from future degradation, specifically from monsoons which threaten to expose the artifacts before conclusive studies can be undertaken.

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