Lidar maps vast network of Cambodia’s hidden cities | Science News

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Lidar maps vast network of Cambodia’s hidden cities

Extent of Khmer Empire rising from the jungle is stunning

7:00am, June 17, 2016
Preah Khan in Cambodia

REDISCOVERED CITIES  A collapsed building is located near a central temple in the 12th century city of Preah Khan in Cambodia. Aerial laser surveys of these now-forested parts of northern Cambodia have revealed the extent and layout of ancient, once-interconnected cities of the Khmer Empire.   

Thanks to modern laser technology, Southeast Asia’s Khmer Empire is rising from forest floors for the first time in centuries.

New findings show the remarkable extent to which Khmer people built cities and transformed landscapes from at least the fifth to the 15th century, and perhaps for several hundred years after that, says archaeologist Damian Evans of Cambodia’s Siem Reap Center. Laser mapping in 2015 of about 1,910 square kilometers of largely forested land in northern Cambodia indicates that gridded city streets and extensive canals emerged surprisingly early, by around A.D. 500, Evans reports June 13 in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Researchers have generally assumed that large-scale urban development began later at Greater Angkor, capital of the Khmer Empire from the ninth to 15th centuries (

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