Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kulen revealed

The headlines have been dramatic this weekend - such as Atlantis-like lost city unearthed in jungle, blah, blah, blah - after the announcement that a city known Mahendraparvata has been identified on top of Phnom Kulen mountain, northeast of Angkor. New laser scanning technology named Lidar has uncovered a vast network of structures, dykes, canals, roads, mounds, etc, thought to be some 1,200 years old and pre-dating Angkor. As it turns out, a lot of this is not a new discovery, two dozen temples on Kulen have been known about for ages but its the connecting dots revealed by Lidar that have helped researchers identify that the area was much more important than originally first thought. Locations of previously unknown temple sites have been identified by the new technology, though I would imagine any large free-standing temples have been identified long ago. It doesn't take a genius to suspect that the sheer number of temples and religious structures including multiple rock carvings on Kulen would indicate a major civilisation hub, it just needed Lidar to paint the bigger picture. I visited quite a few of the more remote temples on Kulen back in March 2002, wow that's eleven years ago - how time flies, and you can read about my visit here. It was an exciting chance to tramp around the overgrown forested areas of Kulen back then, so I can imagine the thrill experienced by the researchers in making even more new discoveries.

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