Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



Radar reveals vast medieval Cambodian city: study

illustration only
by Staff Writers
Chicago (AFP) Aug 13, 2007
Archaeologists using radar imagery have shown that an ancient Cambodian settlement centered on the celebrated temple of Angkor Wat was far more extensive than previously thought, a study released Monday said.

The medieval settlement surrounding Angkor, the one-time capital of the illustrious Khmer empire which flourished between the ninth and 14th centuries, covered a 3,000 square kilometer area (1,158 square miles).

The urban complex was at least three times larger than archaeologists had previously suspected and easily the largest pre-industrial urban area of its kind, eclipsing comparable developments such as Tikal a Classic Maya "city" in Guatemala.

Archaeologists have been trying to map the boundaries of the sprawling agricultural environs of Angkor in Siem Reap province since the 1950s, but the ancient remains have been subsumed by modern residential and agricultural developments, complicating the task.

So in 2000, a group of archaeologists from Australia, France and Cambodia who were working on the project turned to the US space agency NASA for help.

The agency obliged, providing radar images of the terrain that distinguished the contours of the landscape under the surface of the earth, identifying the location of roads, canals and ponds surrounding temples.

When the researchers combined the data with aerial photography and ground surveys, they were able to identify several thousand ponds and 74 long-lost temples.

The researchers concluded the complex irrigation network that provided the basis for the settlement's rice agricultural extended 20-25 kilometers out from Angkor city, to the north and south to the border of Lake Tonle Sap.

The roads and canals, the defining features of the area, demonstrated that the urban settlement extended far beyond the walls of Angkor -- a World Heritage site home to Angkor Wat and other renowned temples.

The settlement could have supported a population of up to half a million people, although there were signs that some of the terrain was sparsely populated, said Damian Evans, a graduate student in the archaeology department at Sydney University and author of the paper.

The study also yielded clues to support the theory that environmental disaster was the cause of the civilization's collapse in the 14th century, Evans said.

"We saw signs that embankments had been breached and of ad hoc repairs to bridges and dams, suggesting that the system became unmanageable over time.

"Angkor was extensive enough, and the agricultural exploitation intensive enough, to have created a number of very serious environmental problems," he said.

Deforestation, over population, topsoil erosion and degradation with subsequent sedimentation or flooding could have been disastrous for the medieval population, he said.

The paper appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Related Links
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Satellite Tracking Will Help Answer Questions About Penguin Travels
Seattle WA (SPX) Aug 08, 2007
You could understand if a half-dozen Magellanic penguins developed a "big bird is watching" phobia before this month is over, but the surveillance really will be for their own good. University of Washington scientists will attach satellite tracking devices to the backs of six penguins that have been treated at two centers in northern Argentina after their feathers were fouled with oil. The birds will be released into the Atlantic Ocean and their movements traced using satellites and the Internet.







  • NASA Awards First Stage Contract For Ares Rockets
  • UC Experts Detail New Standard For Cleaner Transportation Fuels
  • Indigenous Cryogenic Stage Tested For Eight Minutes
  • Ecliptic Celebrates A Decade Of Successful RocketCam Launches

  • ILS to Launch Inmarsat Satellite On Proton Vehicle Next Spring
  • Russian Proton-M Rocket To Launch Japanese Telecoms Satellite
  • A Double Transfer At The Spaceport For The Next Two Ariane 5 Launchers
  • European Automated Space Truck Arrive At South American Spaceport

  • NASA weighs repair to shuttle, extends mission by 3 days
  • Damage to Endeavour appears less serious
  • NASA to take close look at Endeavour shield damage
  • Endeavour mission hit by apparent shuttle damage

  • Astronauts prepare for first spacewalk of Endeavour mission
  • Astronauts To Conduct Study Of Bacterial Growth In Space
  • Progress Cargo Ship With Computer Equipment Docks With ISS
  • Progress 26 To Dock Sunday At Station

  • NASA Seeks Launch Logistics Help
  • Historic Phoenix Mars Mission Flies Actel RTAX-S Devices
  • Spaceport America Design Team Selected
  • Making the Transition From Shuttle To Constellation

  • China Trains Rescue Teams For Third Manned Space Program
  • Chinese Astronauts Begin Training For Spacewalk
  • China Prepares To Select New Taikonauts
  • Dongfanghong 4 Ready For More International Satellite Orders

  • Successful Jules Verne Rendezvous Simulation At ATV Control Centre
  • Robotic Einstein Wows Spanish Technology Fair
  • Robotic Ankle For Amputees Is Developed
  • iRobot Receives New Military Orders 14 PackBot Robots

  • Phoenix Adjusts Course Successfully For Journey To Mars
  • What Makes Mars Magnetic
  • Helping Phoenix Land
  • Brighter Skies Lifts Rover Spirit As MER-A Gets Active

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement