Laos’ Plain of Menhirs


  • Alan Potkin
  • Catherine Raymond




The formal conservation process for the Houaphanh menhirs has been underway for nearly twenty years. What has actually been accomplished during this period, and how are the material condition of the landscape and the artefacts now, compared with the situation between 1999 and 2002 when the authors did research on the menhirs and designed/installed interpretive signage at the site? Alan Potkin and Catherine Raymond report.

Author Biographies

Alan Potkin

"Alan Potkin holds a doctorate in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley (USA), following previous post-graduate training in limnology and estuarine ecology. In 1995, he founded the Digital Conservation Facility, Laos (DCFL) which is affiliated with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University (USA), where Dr. Potkin is an Adjunct Research Fellow. Having lived and worked for decades in South and Southeast Asia, he’s been continuously developing “artisanal”, i.e., low-tech/constrained budget, and interactive visualization and virtual reality tools for ecological and cultural conservation relevant to impact assessment, heritage preservation, museological and site interpretive materials, public participation, government agencies, multilateral development banks, corporations, and NGOs.

Catherine Raymond

Catherine Raymond received her Ph.D. in Art and Archaeology and in Indian and Southeast Asian Studies from La Sorbonne (Université de Paris III), where she was trained under Jean Boisselier (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam); Madeleine Giteau (Cambodia and Laos); and Denise Bernot (Myanmar). She also holds a Diplôme de recherche et d’études appliquées from National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations. Her research largely focuses on the iconography of Theravada Buddhism, with special interest in the arts of Myanmar. Presently, Dr. Raymond is Associate Professor of Art History at Northern Illinois University (USA); Director of the Center for Burma Studies; and Curator of the Burma Collections. She has been developing innovative digital approaches in archiving and conserving heritage sites throughout South and Southeast Asia.