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Laser Scanning Reveals the Hidden City of Angkor Wat


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For the first time, the Lidar* amazing technology has been used to scan the site of Angkor in Cambodia. A group of archaeologists from Sydney has discovered a network of temples that was completely unknown, and an entire city, hidden by the lush forest of Cambodia.

From the four billion laser measurements of Angkor, processed by a high-performance computer, researchers have looked with emotion, the map of entire cities identified, for the first time, from the jungle north-west of Cambodia.

Not only, the extension of the city is even much larger than we thought: “We have found that these structures extend over an area of about 35 square km, rather, of the 9 that had previously been mapped,” said Evans. The city was designed with a very precise urban plan: the streets ran in a grid, precise east/west and north/south, similar to the scheme of the great roads of New York.

angkor_watEach sector of the city has been measured exactly at a distance of 100 meters from each other,with 4 dwellings and 4 rectangular ponds, each pond located north-east of each dwelling.

The dwellings, elevated on earthen mounds, were higher than the surrounding rice fields, presumably so they wouldn’t flood during the rainy season. The roads were likewise elevated.

Scientists have long wondered who were the people who built these marvelous buildings, where did they live, how were they so successful in the unforgiving environment of monsoon Asia, and perhaps most importantly, what happened to them?

“At least half a dozen previously undocumented temples have been uncovered in the immediate vicinity of Angkor Wat, which more than two million tourists visit every year, along with a previously unknown urban layout within the very confines of the temple’s moat.

Angkor-LiDARIn the remote Kulen mountains, in the north of Angkor, where dense forest and extensive mine fields have traditionally frustrated mapping efforts, an entire urban layout has emerged from beneath the vegetation. It corresponds to a previously undiscovered city referred to in thousand-year-old inscriptions as Mahendraparvata.

“The newly discovered cities clearly extend beyond the limited lidar coverage that has so far been achieved, and we are currently fundraising for a second lidar mission to extend that coverage and take a first look at a couple of other temple complexes in the region where, we suspect, entire cities also lie undiscovered on the forest floor”, Evan said.

Lidar can reveal much more. This is just the beginning. Soon archaeologists will unlock the secrets of ancient civilizations!

Preah-Khan1

*The Lidar is an instrument that combines laser technology with that of the radar. It proved to be particularly useful in the discovery of prehistoric buildings buried and ruins of the ancient lost cities.

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