The little-known history of Cambodia’s ‘dark age’

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via SEA Globe, 18 July 2018:

While Cambodia is synonymous with the famous temple complex Angkor Wat, the post-Angkorian period is far less studied. Considered to be a dark time in the Kingdom’s history, an ongoing excavation at the country’s former capital city Longvek – now just a small village – offers evidence to suggest otherwise

Source: The little-known history of Cambodia’s ‘dark age’ – Southeast Asia Globe Magazine

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Video: Archaeology of Longvek in Cambodia

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via the Cairns Post, 22 Feb 2018: click on the link below to see the video.

Flinders University archaeologist Dr Martin Polkinghorne is digging into the dark age of Cambodia, after the demise of Angkor in the 15th Century. The earth yields the truth about the past, which can be checked against legends and stories. The project has Australian Research Council grant funding, in collaboration with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture…

Source: Archaeology in Cambodia (Longvek)

Long thought to have been Cambodia’s capital during a ‘dark age’, digs are unearthing Longvek’s place as a centre of global trade

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via Phnom Penh Post, 19 Feb 2018: A feature on the archaeological investigations at the 16th century capital of Longvek, which is conducted by the Cambodian, Australian and Japanese team.

The town of Longvek, in Kampong Tralach district, is picturesque but unremarkable. Cows graze between rice paddies and stilted wooden homes dot the landscape. It is hard to imagine that it was once home to a great capital city – surrounded by earthen walls, moats and forest – where merchant ships from as far as Holland and Spain would cast their anchors on the nearby Tonle Sap river.

Source: Long thought to have been Cambodia’s capital during a ‘dark age’, digs are unearthing Longvek’s place as a centre of global trade

Angkor Lidar roundup, June 2016

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Lidar reveals more, much more, of the cities of Angkor

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Areas scanned in 2012 and 2015. Source: Journal of Archaeological Science

A new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science has been grabbing the headlines in the last few days: the first insights from the Lidar acquisition of Angkor. It is the most extensive use of Lidar in an archaeological context to date, which brings to greater clarity the urban sprawl of Phnom Kulen, Banteay Chhmar, the Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, Sambor Prei Kuk, Longvek and Oudong. Combined with the earlier acquisition of the core Angkor area in 2012, the Lidar data has uncovered a tremendous amount of information about settlement patterns in these areas.

The data gathered presents a big-picture view of several themes of interest: population flows, urban centres, water management and collapse, and provides starting points for many of these future lines of inquiry. To be sure, the patterns in landscape and features uncovered by the Lidar is spectacular, but many of these features will need to be ‘ground-truthed’ and investigated in real life. (Alison has a good commentary about the potentials and limitations of the Lidar data). All in all, a very exciting start to what is surely a new phase of archaeological understanding of Angkor, and hopefully one with repercussions to the rest of the region as well!

Areas scanned in 2012 and 2015. Source: Journal of Archaeological Science

Areas scanned in 2012 and 2015. Source: Journal of Archaeological Science

Airborne laser scanning as a method for exploring long-term socio-ecological dynamics in Cambodia
Journal of Archaeological Science, doi:10.1016/j.jas.2016.05.009

Revealed: Cambodia’s vast medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle
The Guardian, 11 June 2016

Medieval cities hidden under jungle in Cambodia revealed using lasers, archaeologists say
AFP, via ABC News, 12 June 2016

New research reveals further secrets of Khmer history
Phnom Penh Post, 13 June 2016

Ancient urban networks around Angkor Wat discovered
AP, via Jakarta Post, 13 June 2016

New technology reveals cities hidden in Cambodian vegetation for thousands of years
Washington Post, 13 June 2016

Archaeologists Reveal Vast, New Medieval Cities In Cambodia
Tech Times, 13 June 2016

Jungle Of Cambodia Reveals Multiple Cities Between 900 to 1400 Years Old
Science World Report, 13 June 2016

Abstract:

Early Khmer societies developed extensive settlement complexes that were largely made of non-durable materials. These fragile urban areas perished many centuries ago, and thus a century and a half of scholarly research has focussed on the more durable components of Khmer culture, in particular the famous temples and the texts and works of art that are normally found within them. In recent years however there has been a considerable effort to broaden the perspective beyond conventional approaches to Khmer history and archaeology. Remarkable advances have been made in the domain of remote sensing and archaeological mapping, including the application of advanced geospatial techniques such as airborne laser scanning within studies of heritage landscapes at Angkor and beyond. This article describes the most recent applications of the technology in Cambodia, including the results of a newly-completed campaign of airborne laser scanning in 2015—the most extensive acquisition ever undertaken by an archaeological project—and underscores the importance of using these methods as part of a problem-oriented research program that speaks to broader issues within history and archaeology.

Article link

Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat, the Guardian can reveal, in groundbreaking discoveries that promise to upend key assumptions about south-east Asia’s history.

The Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans, whose findings will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Monday, will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.

Link to Guardian article here.

Excavations at Longvek reveal life in Cambodia’s former capital

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Excavations at Longvek. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160112

Another piece of research looking at post-Angkoran history, recent excavations at Longvek, which was the capital after Angkor and before Phnom Penh.

Excavations at Longvek. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160112

Excavations at Longvek. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160112

Discoveries at former capital could change old perceptions
Phnom Penh Post, 12 January 2016

The first archaeological excavations at the site of the ancient Cambodian capital of Longvek have unearthed physical evidence that the city was a regional trading hub, helping dispel historical notions that Cambodia underwent centuries of “dark ages” between the Angkorian and the modern era.

Located less than 50 kilometres from Phnom Penh in present-day Kampong Chhnang province, Longvek was the Cambodian capital for almost 200 years following the sack of Angkor by the Siamese in 1431.

During excavations last month, a joint team of archaeologists discovered porcelain from as far away as China and Japan in the foundations of Longvek’s ancient palace, along with ruins of substantial earthen walls and a bronze workshop.

“Archeologists, historians, tourists and the general public – everyone tends to focus on Angkor’s golden age, and when you go to Angkor you can see the reason why,” said Dr Martin Polkinghorne, a research fellow at Flinders University in Australia who is part of a joint team composed of Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture, Flinders and Japan’s Nara Institute.

Full story here.

Categories: Angkor Cambodia

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