Mannfred Werner

Archaeologists say the uncovered medieval cityscape is "without parallel in the pre-industrial world."

Few visitors to the temples at Angkor Wat are unimpressed. But, as a team of international archaeologists recently discovered, the visible buildings represent merely a portion of a formally planned urban environment whose existence has been hidden beneath the jungle for a thousand years.

Using lidar, the aerial mapping tool that is revolutionizing the search for lost cities, the team uncovered a medieval cityscape "without parallel in the pre-industrial world." Lidar, which uses lasers to detect hidden variations in topology (it works like radar), can discover shapes invisible to the human eye. Even in this heavily trafficked area, the remnants of a 13-square mile city, complete with an orthogonal grid of streets and canals, were not visible until now.

In short, Angkor was far more urban than previously thought, and the geometric rigor of the famous enclosures actually extended far into what is now jungle.

Video via The Age.

Top image: Mannfred Werner, via Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Berlin Will Freeze Rents for Five Years

    Local lawmakers agreed to one of Europe’s most radical rental laws, but it sets the stage for a battle with Germany’s national government.

  2. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  3. A photo of a Google employee on a bicycle.
    Equity

    How Far Will Google’s Billion-Dollar Bay Area Housing Plan Go?

    The single largest commitment by a private employer to address the Bay Area’s acute affordable housing crisis is unique in its focus on land redevelopment.

  4. A photo of a new apartment building under construction in Boston.
    Equity

    In Massachusetts, a ‘Paper Wall’ of Zoning Is Blocking New Housing

    Despite the area’s progressive politics, NIMBY-minded residents in and around Boston are skilled in keeping multi-family housing at bay.

  5. Environment

    Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

    The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

×