Bernard Philippe Groslier, 60, the French orientalist responsible for rebuilding Angkor in Cambodia, died of a heart attack May 29 at his home in Paris, his family announced.
Mr. Groslier was best known for his tremendous contribution to modern archeology and his endeavors to restore Angkor, the ruined ancient city of the Khmers, and its palace, Angkor Wat. During the 16 years he spent as Angkor's custodian, he combed through the some 50 acres of sacred land and supervised the excavations of Sambor Preaht.
"He was the greatest archeologist of Southeast Asia," said Georges Candominas, research director at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Sciences Sociales. "He took Angkor in hand. He did fantastic things from an archeological and historical standpoint."
When Cambodia sealed its borders in 1975, Mr. Groslier returned to France on the last outgoing convoy. He pursued his research on Angkor while working on other projects, such as the Pagan temples in the ancient royal Burmese capital.
Born of French parents in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, then part of French Indochina, Mr. Groslier made his first trip to France at the age of 11. His father, Georges Groslier, the director of the arts of Cambodia, was jailed when the Japanese took control of the country in World War II and died under torture.
Bernard Groslier was in Europe when the war broke out and he joined the French resistance before finishing college. Severely wounded, he later was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor by Gen. Charles de Gaulle.
In 1946, at the beginning of the war that ended French empire in Southeast Asia, Mr. Groslier was parachuted into Indochina and again was wounded. He returned to France to graduate from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Sciences Sociales.
The custodian of the Saigon Museum from 1950 to 1954, he later became the director of archeological research at the French School of the Far East. His work within the French resistance movement earned him special recognition from de Gaulle, who personally intervened in favor of his Cambodian project.
After his return to France, Mr. Groslier was active in various associations to assist Khmers to retain their cultural and historical identity. Last year, he was invited by the Library of Congress to attend a special session on the status of Khmer refugees in the United States.
Survivors include his wife, Brigitte, whom he married in 1981.