Associate Professor Martin Polkinghorne

Associate Professor in Archaeology

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

place Humanities (226)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Martin Polkinghorne is an Associate Professor in Archaeology at Flinders University.

Martin completed his PhD at The University of Sydney focussing on the people and technology that made the temples of Angkor. Between 2011 and 2014 he led an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project on pre-modern craft economies in Cambodia. This initiative discovered the first historic bronze foundry known in Southeast Asia and continues to excavate at Angkor.

Martin is Lead Chief Investigator of an international consortium on the ARC Linkage Project: Reuniting orphaned cargoes: Underwater Cultural Heritage of the Maritime Silk Route. This project aims to discover the cultural value of the largest Southeast Asian ceramic collections in Indonesia and Australia with archaeological science and to preserve the underwater cultural heritage of our region for future generations.

As a Chief Investigator on the ARC funded Greater Angkor Project's Urbanism after Angkor (14th - 18th century CE): re-defining Collapse, Martin seeks to change perceptions of Cambodian history after the demise of Angkor, from depictions of defeat and loss towards recognition of adaptation and renewal. In a complementary research program, Martin led the ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) project New Light on Cambodia’s Dark Age: The capitals of Cambodia after Angkor (1350 – 1750). These projects have conducted the first archaeological investigations of Cambodia's Early Modern Period capitals on the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap arterial rivers. Research of Cambodia during a time of quickening international trade retrieves this period from a perceived Dark Age, and reveals critical linkages between the celebrated Angkorian past and the present-day.

Martin is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Asian Studies Program, The University of Sydney, and a Member of the Advisory Board of Friends of Khmer Culture Incorporated.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (The University of Sydney)
  • Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours, Archaeology (Flinders University)
  • Bachelor of Arts (The University of Adelaide)
  • Bachelor of Business, Labour Relations (The University of South Australia)
Honours, awards and grants

Australian Research Council Linkage Project: Reuniting orphaned cargoes: Underwater Cultural Heritage of the Maritime Silk Route (LP210200165).

Australian Research Council LIEF: A National Facility for the 3D Imaging of the Near Surface (LE210100037).

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Award: After Angkor: 14C chronologies from Longvek, the 16th and 17th century CE capital of Cambodia (AP11038).

Australian Research Council Discovery Project: Urbanism after Angkor (14th - 18th century CE): re-defining Collapse (DP170102574).

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellow - Long Term (L16507, Host: Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Award: Characterising an elemental fingerprint for 15th – 17th CE century kiln complexes in northern and central Thailand by neutron activation analysis (AP11925).

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Award: Sisatchanalai, Sukhothai and Maenam Noi: Characterisation and exchange of 15th – 17th CE century stoneware sherds from northern and central Thailand by Neutron Activation Analysis (10306).

Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award: New light on Cambodia’s Dark Age (DE150100756).

The Terrence and Lynette Fern Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Fellowship 2015.

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant: The Ateliers of Angkor (DP110101968).

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) / Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Research Award: A 14C chronology of sculpture production sites at Angkor, Cambodia (ALNGRA13009).

National Geographic Society/ Waitt Grants Program 2011.

Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellowship 2009.

Topic coordinator
ARCH1006 Sex, Death, and Ritual in the Ancient World
ARCH2210 Lands beneath the winds: Archaeology of Southeast Asia
ARCH8801 Archaeological Field Methods
ARCH1002 From the Palaeolithic to Pompeii: An Exploration of World Archaeology
ARCH2208 The Museum
Topic lecturer
ARCH1002 From the Palaeolithic to Pompeii: An Exploration of World Archaeology
ARCH1001 Introduction to Archaeology
ARCH1006 Sex, Death and Ritual in the Ancient World
ARCH2106 Archaeological Field Methods
ARCH1007 Ancient Egypt to the Aztecs: Foundations of Urban Life
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Archaeology (1)
Associate supervisor: Archaeology (2)
Further information

Recent Media Coverage

Late Night Live with Phillip Adams. "Returning ancient ceramics from the maritime silk route". Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mukhaer, A. A. "Para Arkeolog Akan Kembalikan Kisah yang Tertinggal dari Jalur Rempah". National Geographic - Indonesia.

"Stories behind ceramics from shipwrecks in Indonesian waters". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Polkinghorne, M. "Angkor replicated: how Cambodian workshops produce fake masterpieces, and get away with it". The Conversation.

Lotha, L. "The little-known history of Cambodia’s ‘dark age’". Southeast Asia Globe.

Sassoon, A. "Long thought to have been Cambodia’s capital during a ‘dark age’, digs are unearthing Longvek’s place as a centre of global trade". Phnom Penh Post.

Peddie, C. "Digging into Cambodia's bright past". The Advertiser.

Sassoon, A. "Team digs into Cambodia's 'dark ages". Phnom Penh Post.

Massive Bronze Workshop Found near Angkor Thom”. Archaeology Magazine.

Crane, B. “Digging for where the gods were constructed” Phnom Penh Post.

Cambodia’s Other Great Capital”. Archaeology Magazine.

Twitter: @dr_marpol