Archaeologists in Cambodia have shed new light on the ancient Khmer city of Mahendraparvata, engulfed for centuries by the Cambodian jungle. Using airborne laser-scanning technology, researchers have successfully mapped the capital of the early Khmer empire and a forerunner of the famed Angkor Wat, with the results of their work detailed in a new research report published on Tuesday in the science journal Antiquity.
Researchers from the French Institute of Asian Studies and Cambodia’s management authority for Angkor Archaeological Park—known as APSARA—have used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) surveying technology to reveal the location and details of Mahendraparvata. While the existence of the ancient city has been known for decades, concrete archaeological data has been scant, and the new paper—the result of a years-long international research project—offers the most definitive identification yet of Mahendraparvata.
“Despite its importance as the location of one of the Angkor period’s earliest capitals, the mountainous region of Phnom Kulen has, to date, received strikingly little attention. It is almost entirely missing from archaeological maps, except as a scatter of points denoting the remains of some brick temples,” the researchers said in their findings. “This research yields new and important insights into the emergence of Angkorian urban areas.” (Antiquity)