Lidar and maps reveal population of ancient Angkor

Archaeologists report that 700,000-900,000 people lived in Cambodia’s medieval Greater Angkor region.

The sprawling tropical city, which covered 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles), thrived from the 9th to the 15th centuries before being abandoned, possibly due to climate change.

The paper, which combines more than 30 years of data with recent airborne lidar sensing, appears in the journal Science Advances.

Knowing the population and how it was distributed is vital for potentially helping cities now under climate pressures, says coauthor Roland Fletcher of the University of Sydney and head of the Angkor Research Program.

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