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The ancient city of Angkor was densely populated

Interpretation of artists of everyday life within the fourth room of Angkor Wat, late 12th century.

Interpretation of artists of everyday life within the fourth room of Angkor Wat, late 12th century.
Illustration: Tom Chandler, Mike Yeates, Chandara Ung and Brent McKee, Monash University, 2021

Angkor, now Cambodia, was one of the most populous cities in the world from the ninth to the 15th century. That said, archaeologists struggle to determine the population Apo. New research can answer this question, confirming that the old city is a big city.

Greater Angkor was home to between 700,000 and 900,000 people in the 13th century CE, according to research published today in Science Advances. This makes Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire, one of the largest cities in human history.

“The discovery of archeological sites is a very important task for archaeologists,” Sarah Klassen, an archaeologist at the University of Leiden and co-author of the study, explained in an email. “Although our research team has been working in Angkor for many years, no one has decided to address this important question,” said Klassen, who works extensively with his colleagues at the University of British Columbia.

In an email, Alison Carter, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon and co-author of the study, said it was “the most recent study of Sarah’s mechanical research work that we felt was large enough to answer this question clearly.”

Yes, along with the recent research, as lasers were used to make three-dimensional maps, the group had a 30-year chance important archaeologists, radiocarbon dates, antiquities, and maps. Klassen’s computer simulations were used to predict the time of the city’s old locations, such as old buildings and he does not burn. Together, several testimonials helped History The growth of Angkor over time.

Temple in Angkor Wat, northwestern Cambodia.

Temple in Angkor Wat, northwestern Cambodia.
Figure: Heng Sinith (All online applications)

“I was amazed at the sheer number of areas we were able to combine these different dates into a cohesive,” Klassen said.

Carter’s contribution was to use archaeological research to determine the size of the courtyard.

“One of the easiest ways to estimate the population is to calculate the housing and compare the number of people living in these areas,” Carter said. “In Angkor, this is difficult, because people built their homes from natural materials that never existed in the Cambodian rainy season. However, the cover clearly shows the high places where people build their homes. ”

Examples of modern Cambodian buildings.  The front house is made of wood and grass.

Examples of modern Cambodian buildings. The front house is made of wood and grass.
Figure: Alison Carter

In addition, Carter and his associates were working on a farm near the temple in Angkor Wat, each in his own way which is about 600 square meters. Based on the project, the team believes that there was one house on each farm. These statistics give an estimate of five people per home, “so from there we can begin to add numbers into the equation,” Carter said. And because the number of long piles was known at any given time, scientists are able to track the increase in population density and population density over time.

The results show that Rome, er, Angkor, was not built in a single day, as it took many centuries for the city to reach the 13th-at the peak of a hundred. In addition, the population was not the same, which occurred differently in three different areas: cultural shelters (home to royal members and other elites), the capital city, and embankments.

“It was good to get numbers to confirm the size of Angkor. We can always know that it was a big, big city, but this adds another dimension, “Carter said.” The time and size of the various parts of the city are of great interest to me. It was surprising to see that the urban area of ​​Angkor did not remain very stable until some time. ”

It is doubtful that rulers or archeology has contributed to the city’s growth in various ways.

Trees for digging trees in Angkor Wat.

Trees for digging trees in Angkor Wat.
Figure: Alison Carter

Carter was impressed by the size and size of Angkor. As a result, there is “much we can learn from urban sprawl and urban development and urban sustainability by studying this site,” he said. Carter was also amazed at “the rapid growth of the city,” adding that “we like to think of the cities and their” town, “but in Angkor this large area was an important part of the city.”

Interestingly, an estimated 700,000 to 900,000 people over the city’s longest period are in line with another study. Archaeologist Eileen Lustig from the University of Sydney had already estimated the population between 750,000 and 1,000,000, the amount depending on the rice harvest and the number of sites.

“Our numbers are very close to his, which is why I think we have something,” Carter said.

Population development per hectare in Great Angkor district over time.

Population development per hectare in Great Angkor district over time.
Figure: Sarah Klassen / Advanced Science

Angkor population growth is similar to that observed in Teotihuacan in Mexico and Anyang in China (before major cities), but still lower than Caracol, seventh100-year-old Mayan city now Belize.

“My biggest fear is that all the headlines will say, ‘One million people live in Angkor,’ and that’s not what our work says at all,” Carter He said. “We think his height was between 700,000 and 900,000 people, but I think that figure was about 700,000 more than 900,000.”

As a result of such (appropriate) comparisons, it has been described Carter, deals with uncertainty in how other places used to be, such as the cold, which “is a big question for me and needs to be cleaned up,” he said.

Based on the shortcomings, Klassen said he had to make a few suggestions, but which ones were “She was a great help.

“At the end of the day, the paper represents the work of archaeologists who have worked in the area – some of them for many years – to consolidate our data, debate back and forth, and come to terms with what we consider to be the best census in Angkor based on our knowledge. here, ”Klassen explained. “This, of course, initiates decades of work that will support and transform these ideas,” he said, adding that “the culture of scientific research, and it is a pleasure to be with them. ”

Carter said this was “just an example,” and would need to be tested by further research.

The interesting thing about this research is that the method the group uses can be used to study other ancient cities. These new findings will also help our understanding of ethical issues, especially in large cities.

“The project represents a building site that allows us to continue with the” old “traditional questions,” said Klassen. ” are relevant to modern society, “these are questions about the movement of people, the cost of land, and, most important, the question of whether “we can create a competitive system in cities or not.”

More: One of the oldest cities in the world has experienced modern-day challenges.

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