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Angkor Wat - some new discoveries

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  • minnesotastan
    BBC NEWS Map reveals ancient urban sprawl The researchers disovered at least 74 new temples The great medieval temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia was once at the
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 14, 2007
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      BBC NEWS
      Map reveals ancient urban sprawl

      The researchers disovered at least 74 new temples
      The great medieval temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia was once at the
      centre of a sprawling urban settlement, according to a new, detailed
      map of the area.

      Using Nasa satellites, an international team have discovered at least
      74 new temples and complex irrigation systems.

      The map, published in the journal PNAS, extends the known settlement
      by 1000 sq km, about the size of Los Angeles.

      Analysis also lends weight to the theory that Angkor's residents were
      architects of the city's demise.

      "The large-scale city engineered its own downfall by disrupting its
      local environment by expanding continuously into the surrounding
      forests," said Damian Evans of the University of Sydney and one of the
      authors of the paper and map.

      Urban complex

      Working with researchers from Australia, Cambodia and France, the map
      was produced from ground surveys, airborne photography, and
      ground-sensing radar from Nasa's AIRSAR satellite.

      "The radar can sense differences in plant growth and moisture content
      that result from topographical variations of less than a meter," Mr
      Evans said.

      The data allowed the researchers to peer through the vegetation that
      now shrouds the World Heritage site.

      It suggests that the medieval settlement surrounding Angkor, the
      one-time capital of the Khmer empire which flourished between the
      ninth and 14th centuries, was at least three times larger than
      previously thought.

      The team believes it could have covered 3,000 sq km (1,150 sq miles),
      the largest pre-industrial complex of its kind.

      Its nearest rival is Tikal, a Mayan city in Guatemala, which covers
      between 100 and 150 sq km (40-60 sq miles).

      The detailed survey also allowed the researchers to map at least 74
      new temples as well as more than 1,000 manmade ponds.

      Water works

      They also discovered that the city's water supply probably relied on a
      single complex channel that extended 20 to 25km out from Angkor city.

      The researchers say that the system, until now thought to be purely
      decorative and ceremonial, was probably used to support farming, in
      particular intensive rice agriculture.

      In all, the newly mapped terrain could have supported half a million
      people, the researchers believe.

      The new analysis of the irrigation system also sheds light on the
      civilization's collapse in the 14th century.

      "We saw signs that embankments had been breached and of ad hoc repairs
      to bridges and dams, suggesting that the system became unmanageable
      over time," Mr Evans told the AFP news agency.

      In addition, deforestation, over population, topsoil erosion could
      have contributed to the population's sudden disappearance.

      "Angkor was extensive enough, and the agricultural exploitation
      intensive enough, to have created a number of very serious
      environmental problems," he said.

      Story from BBC NEWS:
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/6945574.stm

      Published: 2007/08/14 09:56:52 GMT

      © BBC MMVII
    • bigalemc2
      Yes, Stan, isn t that awesome? 1,000 SQUARE KILOMETERS MORE! Holy cow. Consider that Washington DC is (this is from memory...) 96 square miles, versus
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 14, 2007
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        Yes, Stan, isn't that awesome?

        1,000 SQUARE KILOMETERS MORE!  Holy cow.  Consider that Washington DC is (this is from memory...) 96 square miles, versus Angkor's 1,150 sq miles.

        The more we learn, the more impressive ancient peoples are.

        BTW, something I can't let pass without comment:

        This quote is ridiculous:
        "The large-scale city engineered its own downfall by disrupting its local environment by expanding continuously into the surrounding forests."
        Now what in the heck brought that on?  Based on the size, the guy thinks that is the reason Ankgor fell into disrepair?  Give me a break! 

        By this logic, London should have fallen centuries ago.  Paris, too.  New York City should be in ruins.  Mexico City and Tokyo?  Toast long ago.

        No?  They are still around?  Gee, I guess that logic wasn't so logical, was it?

        Counter arguments:

        First of all, just because it is large in area didn't mean that the people didn't have backyard gardens.  Second, does he think that farms didn't spread out around the city?  Third, what was the population of the entire world then?  100 million?  200 million?   And we are supposed to think that they were so packed in that they couldn't feed themselves?  In a region that probably has two rice harvests a year?  Not likely.

        And the real dig being made is the suggestion that any large city is by definition doomed simply because it takes up a lot of space?  Caca!  Taking up space on a planet with a population density of , what? about 1.0 person per square km average density is "disrupting its local environment"?   Is there any indication that the population density was greater for Angkor just because it is spread out? 

        And doesn't this guy think that they had trade?  I don't know squat about Ankgor's civilization, but I have to think this guy is telling us they had global warming back then.  (p.s. I am not a Republican.)

        To some people "disrupting the local environment" can mean spitting on the sidewalk, to some it can be tilling the soil, to some it is simply humans breathing.  It is such a nebulous phrase that can mean anything, but what it does do is harp on the "by definition, people are bad citizens of planet Earth" spiel, a lie that keeps getting repeated and repeated and repeated.  By extending the global warming type arguments to past civilizations, they are only extending the lie.  The arguments that Rome fell because they chopped down trees ignore the far greater evidence that it was because they changed from a Republic to an Empire, which accelerated the decayed within, or that maybe the Vandals simply beat them because they were better fighters.  No, in some people's minds, the speculation that it was the trees is gospel.

        Rome killed their trees and Gaea took her revenge; Angkorians spread out too far and Mother Earth stomped on them - it all makes perfect sense.

        . . . . Steve
      • Susan
        Thanks for the Angkor Wat link, Stan, and Steve, once again for great comments and critique. You get us all thinking, questioning, rooting around into the
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 16, 2007
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          Thanks for the Angkor Wat link, Stan, and Steve, once again for great
          comments and critique. You get us all thinking, questioning, rooting
          around into the specifics of some of these web links and often
          unexamined assumptions by reporters and writers. I appreciate those
          of you who also try to tie together the many web links from areas
          global--of both historic and ancient eras--which come to this group.

          I also want to acknowledge and welcome the two new members who joined
          Ancient Waterways Society this month. If or when you feel
          comfortable, feel free to introduce yourselves and interests.
          Otherwise, we are also happy to have onlookers. We probably have
          dozens also who are not members but who regularly follow posts. I
          receive a number of personal letters of people making inquiries or
          comments, but encourage them to post directly to the group rather
          than my doing so 'second-hand'.

          Susan

          --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "bigalemc2"
          <puppet@...> wrote:
          >
          > Yes, Stan, isn't that awesome?
          >
          > 1,000 SQUARE KILOMETERS MORE! Holy cow. Consider that Washington
          DC is
          > (this is from memory...) 96 square miles, versus Angkor's 1,150 sq
          > miles.
          >
          > The more we learn, the more impressive ancient peoples are.
          >
          > BTW, something I can't let pass without comment:
          >
          > This quote is ridiculous:
          > "The large-scale city engineered its own downfall by disrupting its
          > local environment by expanding continuously into the surrounding
          > forests."Now what in the heck brought that on? Based on the size,
          the
          > guy thinks that is the reason Ankgor fell into disrepair? Give me a
          > break!
          >
          > By this logic, London should have fallen centuries ago. Paris,
          too.
          > New York City should be in ruins. Mexico City and Tokyo? Toast
          long
          > ago.
          >
          > No? They are still around? Gee, I guess that logic wasn't so
          logical,
          > was it?
          >
          > Counter arguments:
          >
          > First of all, just because it is large in area didn't mean that the
          > people didn't have backyard gardens. Second, does he think that
          farms
          > didn't spread out around the city? Third, what was the population
          of
          > the entire world then? 100 million? 200 million? And we are
          supposed
          > to think that they were so packed in that they couldn't feed
          themselves?
          > In a region that probably has two rice harvests a year? Not likely.
          >
          > And the real dig being made is the suggestion that any large city
          is by
          > definition doomed simply because it takes up a lot of space? Caca!
          > Taking up space on a planet with a population density of , what?
          about
          > 1.0 person per square km average density is "disrupting its local
          > environment"? Is there any indication that the population density
          was
          > greater for Angkor just because it is spread out?
          >
          > And doesn't this guy think that they had trade? I don't know squat
          > about Ankgor's civilization, but I have to think this guy is
          telling us
          > they had global warming back then. (p.s. I am not a Republican.)
          >
          > To some people "disrupting the local environment" can mean spitting
          on
          > the sidewalk, to some it can be tilling the soil, to some it is
          simply
          > humans breathing. It is such a nebulous phrase that can mean
          anything,
          > but what it does do is harp on the "by definition, people are bad
          > citizens of planet Earth" spiel, a lie that keeps getting repeated
          and
          > repeated and repeated. By extending the global warming type
          arguments
          > to past civilizations, they are only extending the lie. The
          arguments
          > that Rome fell because they chopped down trees ignore the far
          greater
          > evidence that it was because they changed from a Republic to an
          Empire,
          > which accelerated the decayed within, or that maybe the Vandals
          simply
          > beat them because they were better fighters. No, in some people's
          > minds, the speculation that it was the trees is gospel.
          >
          > Rome killed their trees and Gaea took her revenge; Angkorians
          spread out
          > too far and Mother Earth stomped on them - it all makes perfect
          sense.
          >
          > . . . . Steve
          >
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