Hidden Cambodian Cities Discovered With Lasers

Cambodia-AngkorWat-iStock_000014248472SmallLasers are pretty impressive. See: any sci-fi movie from the 70s. But here in modern times, and in real life, archaeologists in Cambodia just found a way to use them to discover lost cities.

The Temples of Angkor Wat is one of the foremost archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, and using airborne laser scanning technology, archaeologists were able to scan an area of more than 734 square miles. They uncovered multiple cities, some that were roughly 900 to 1,400 years old, and some that are almost as large as Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Australian archaeologists have been helping the Cambodian team map their country, and this study expanded on their findings during a survey in 2012 that showed a large system connecting several cities. The results of their 2015 findings will be released today in the Journal of Archaeological Science, and they’ll show just how big the city they found is, and the vastness of the Khmer Empire, which was at its most powerful in the 12th century, and could have been the largest on Earth at the time.

This research could help explain the Khmer Empire’s demise in the 15th century, and also further the knowledge of the region’s history as a whole. There is widespread speculation that the ancient Cambodians fled to other cities in the region when the Thais invaded, but the aerial laser survey shows that there are no cities they could have fled to, which could disprove the notion that there was an Angkorian collapse.

Featured image source: travelblog.viator.com

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