Airborne laser uncovers ancient city hidden under dense Cambodian forest near Angkor Wat
Airborne laser technology has uncovered a network of roadways and canals, illustrating a bustling ancient city linking Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple complex.
The discovery was announced late Monday in a peer-reviewed paper released early by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The laser scanning revealed a previously undocumented formally planned urban landscape integrating the 1,200-year-old temples. The Angkor temple complex was constructed in the 12th century during the mighty Khmer empire.
“No one had ever mapped the city in any kind of detail before, and so it was a real revelation to see the city revealed in such clarity,” University of Sydney archaeologist Damian Evans, the study’s lead author, said by phone from Cambodia. “It’s really remarkable to see these traces of human activity still inscribed into the forest floor many, many centuries after the city ceased to function and was overgrown.” (Photo: Archaeology and Development Foundation - Phnom Kulen Program/Handout PNAS News)