There have been quite a few significant archaeological discoveries recently, and the latest discovery is hidden medieval cities and waterways found underneath and surrounding the Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Christian Post reported the discovery of the hidden medieval cities that was made by Damian Evans, who published his discovery in the Journal of Archaeological Science recently. Archaeologists used lidar technology, which combines light detection and radar, to discover the hidden cities underneath the temple that were built during the Khmer Empire according to the Christian Post. Evans said the technology has helped him and others to understand Southeast Asia life over 900 years ago.
The Angkor Wat is a large temple complex that is in the middle of a 734-square-mile area that apparently used to be sophisticated medieval cities, water structures, and smelting areas. Evans told The Guardian that the discovery of the hidden cities is most likely as large as the country’s capital of Phnom Penh.
“We have entire cities discovered beneath the forest that no one knew were there – at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and, it turns out, we uncovered only a part of Mahendraparvata on Phnom Kulen…this time we got the whole deal and it’s big, the size of Phnom Penh big.”
Evans said that researchers were able to get a clear view of the Angkor Wat area using the lidar technology. Evans also said that researchers had always imagined that great cities surrounded the monuments and that with the lidar technology, the cities can be seen with “incredible precision and detail, in some places for the very first time, but in most places where we already had a vague idea that cities must be there.”
“The lidar quite suddenly revealed an entire cityscape there with astonishing complexity.”
Evans wrote in his journal that mysterious geometric patterns were discovered that were believed to be medieval gardens by some researchers. Evans wrote that the patterns were made from earthen embankments described as “coils,” “spirals,” “geoglyphs,” or “gardens.” He said that excavations of the linear features found at Angkor revealed little archaeologist interest, and the function of the patterns remained unclear.
The History channel reported that the discovery of the medieval cities contradicts the earlier belief that thousands of Cambodians were forced to leave Angkor Wat in the 15th century, as no evidence indicating a mass migration has been found. The exodus was believed to have happened after the attack of Thai invaders, but the research team found no evidence of any such migration. Evans also said the lack of evidence of a mass migration called into question “the whole notion of an Angkorian collapse.”
Evans said that the information that was collected was so bountiful that analysis and field work will continue for years to come. Yale professor of archaeology and Khmer Empire expert Michael Coe told the Guardian that the airborne laser discoveries marked “the greatest advance in the past 50 or even 100 years of our knowledge of Angkorian civilization.”
Peter Sharrock of London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies also told the Guardian that the new findings could mean that the Khmer Empire was once the largest on the planet.
“This urban and rural landscape, linked by road and canal networks, now seems to have constituted the largest empire on earth in the 12th century.”
Some other significant archaeological discoveries are 2,000-year-old Roman military barracks discovered in a subway renovation, and a 2,000-year-old Roman bathhouse found in Jerusalem as reported earlier in the Inquisitr articles.
What do you think the discovery of medieval cities hidden under the Angkor Wat temple means to significant discoveries? Please share your thoughts below.
[Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images]