Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Photo of Hendrickson, Mitch

Mitch Hendrickson, PhD

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Director, Industries of Angkor Project; Co-Director, Two Buddhist Towers Project; Co-Director, Iron and Angkor Project

Anthropology, Archaeology

Pronouns: He/Him/His


Building & Room:

BSB 2138C


1007 W. Harrison Street

Office Phone:

(312) 413-3586


I am a landscape archaeologist interested in the dynamics of networks, premodern state expansion and religion. My work on the Angkorian Khmer Empire in modern day Cambodia is focussed on the complex interaction between networks and technologies using a range of multi-scalar data sets. Over the past decade, my Industries of Angkor Project has sought to address what role regional centers played in the rise of medieval states through an intensive study of iron technology and economy. The collaboration with Dr. Stéphanie Leroy and numerous international specialists is aimed at generating a holistic, multiscalar approach to answer the question of whether access to iron acted as a catalyst in Angkor's major expansions between the 11thand 13thcenturies. My second project, The Two Buddhist Towers, also includes a range of leading international scholars focussed on documenting evidence of the transition from Mahayana to Theravada Buddhism at the site of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay in Preah Vihear province. In addition to the problem of viewing religious change in the material record we are also evaluating shifts in urban settlement patterns and craft production at what was the largest regional center built by the Angkorian Khmer. In February 2019 I will begin working on a pilot study to evaluate the role of iron on the expansion of the Bagan Empire, Myanmar, which was one of Angkor's main political rivals.

In October (2018), Dr. Hendrickson was featured on the Southeast Asia Crossroads Podcast. where he shared some new insights into the Angkor civilization.

Selected Grants

National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration, Investigating the role of strategic resources in the rise and fall of the Kingdom of Bagan 9th -14th c. AD, Myanmar, Partner Investigator with Kalayar Myat Myat Htwe, Pira Venunan, Bob Hudson, T. Oliver Pryce, Stéphanie Leroy. 2019

National Science Foundation, Senior Research Grant (1550850) for Industries of Angkor Project: The Role of Resource Control in the Rise of Social Complexity, Principal Investigator with Stéphanie Leroy, Lisa Tauxe, Cristina Castillo, Quan Hua and Phon Kaseka. 2016-present

L’Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), Iron and the Angkorian Empire: an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to evaluate the role of ferrous metallurgy in the expansion of the Angkorian Khmer Empire, Cambodia (9th to 15th c. CE), Co-Principal Investigator with Stéphanie Leroy. 2014-present

Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation/ACLS Collaborative Research Grants in Buddhist Studies, The Two Buddhist Towers: A multi-scalar evaluation of the practice, change, and function of Buddhism at the regional Angkorian center of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, Cambodia (10th to 17th c. CE)’, Co-Principle Investigator with Christian Fischer and Dominique Soutif, Julia Estève and Cristina Castillo. 2014-2016.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant, Industries of Angkor Project: Material Production and the Decline of the Khmer Empire (11th to 15th centuries CE), Principal Investigator with Christophe Pottier, Hans Leisen, Duncan Cooke, and Quan Hua. 2009-2011

Selected Publications

2017   Hendrickson, Mitch. Transportation and the anomaly of road systems in historic Mainland Southeast Asia. In Handbook of East and Southeast Asian Archaeology, edited by Junko Habu, Peter Lape, and John Olsen. Springer Press: New York, pp. 533-546.

Leroy, Stéphanie, M. Hendrickson, S. Bauvais, T. Blanchet, A. Disser, E. Vega, and E. Delque-Kolic. The Ties that Bind: Archaeometallurgical typology of architectural crampons as a method for reconstructing the iron economy of Angkor, Cambodia (10th to 13th c.). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. Online July 2017, pp. 1-21.

Hendrickson, Mitch, Stéphanie Leroy, Quan Hua, Phon Kaseka and Voeun Vuthy. Smelting in the Shadow of the Iron Mountain: Preliminary Field Investigation of the Industrial Landscape around Phnom Dek, Cambodia (Ninth to Twentieth Centuries A.D.). Asian Perspectives 56(1):55-91.

2015   Hendrickson, Mitch and Damian Evans. 2015. Reimagining the City of Fire and Iron: A landscape archaeology of the Angkor-Period Industrial Complex of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, Cambodia (ca. 9th to 13th centuries A.D.). Journal of Field Archaeology 5:1-21.

2013   Hendrickson, Mitch, Quan Hua and T. Oliver Pryce. 2013. Using in-slag charcoals as an indicator of ‘terminal’ iron production within the Angkorian (10th-13th centuries AD) center of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, Cambodia. Radiocarbon 55(1):31-47.

Notable Honors

2014, Silver Circle Award for Teaching Excellence, University of Illinois at Chicago


2003-2007 - PhD Archaeology, University of Sydney, Australia

1997-2001 - Master of Arts Archaeology, University of Calgary, Canada

1990-1995 - Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Archaeology, University of Calgary, Canada

Professional Memberships

Archaeological Institute of America

Society for American Archaeology

Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association

Selected Presentations

How did Angkor become Angkor? Conceptualizing the rise of the Khmer Empire (9th to 15th c. CE), Cambodia. Invited talk to the Center for Southeast Asia Studies and Department of Anthropology Brown Bag Series, University of Wisconsin, Madison. October 19, 2018.

Steely Places and Angkorian Spaces? Conceptualizing the rise of the Khmer Empire (11th to 13th c. CE), Cambodia. Invited talk to the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. March 16, 2018.

Sparks and Needles: New perspectives on the processes and paradigms of state expansion during the medieval Angkorian Period, Cambodia. Invited talk to the Brown Anthropology Department Colloquium. Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. November 3, 2017

The Two Buddhist Towers: Multidisciplinary evaluation of Buddhist transition at the Khmer regional centre of Preah Khan of Kompong Svay (11th to 16th c. CE). Invited talk with Julia Estève, Dominique Soutif, Christian Fischer, Cristina Castillo and Phon Kaseka at The Emergence of Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia: Southeast Asian Perspectives Symposium, School of Oriental and Asian Studies, London, UK. July 3, 2015

Research Currently in Progress

Industries of Angkor Project, 2009-present

Iron and Angkor Project, 2014-present

The Two Towers Project, 2014-present