Dr Peter D Sharrock

Key information

Director Regional Partners, Summer Schools and Alumni Liaison, SOAS-Alphawood Group Department of History of Art and Archaeology Guest Lecturer Centre of Jaina Studies Member, Centre of Jaina Studies Centre of Buddhist Studies Member Centre of South East Asian Studies Academic Staff
BA (Cantab), MA (SOAS), PhD (SOAS)
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Telephone number
020 7898 4462
Support hours
By email appointment


Peter Sharrock experienced the American war in Indochina for four years as the Reuters correspondent and discovered how, as the French said, Indochina ‘attaches to the skin’.

The war put the large Angkor temple complex out of reach and this was prolonged as Cambodia closed on itself and underwent the agony inflicted by Pol Pot. He finally reached Angkor in 1990, when landmines abounded and control of temples passed daily between the government and the Khmers Rouges.
His doctorate is on a new interpretation of the Buddhism and imperial politics of the greatest king of ancient Cambodia, Jayavarman VII.

He has developed a 'coherentist' approach to the history of Southeast Asia in which the very limited written sources – temple dedications inscribed in stone – are supplemented by trying to capture the religious and political messages embedded by kings in the decoration of state temples and in sacred icons and by monitoring the international flow of ideas across the states lying between the great centres of learning and technology in India and China.

Research interests

History and art history of the Khmer empire of Angkor; the temple art and architecture of Southeast Asia from 400CE to 1400 CE; Buddhism and Hinduism and their impact on the formation and development of states in Southeast Asia; Sanskrit and local languages in the sacred epigraphy of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Champa (Vietnam).


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