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Angkor Wat Blog  - June 11, 2016

The Guardian breaks news of medieval city revealed under Mount Kulen

Some big news about Mount Kulen has just broken from The Guardian which will be very exciting for travellers to Siem Reap, Cambodia. In an archaeological discovery that will challenge current thinking about Southeast Asian history, Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans has found multiple previously undiscovered cities under the forest floor at the sacred mountain of Mount Kulen, 40km north of Angkor Wat. Experts are saying this is the greatest Angkorian discovery in the last 50-100 years.

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The discovery was made using breakthrough technology, known as Lidar, first used in 2012 over Angkor, described in the Nikkei Review as “having replacing the explorer’s machete with a helicopter-mounted laser-ranging device that fires millions of laser pulses every few seconds at the ground below.” In forested areas, some of the pulses reach the forest floor and bounce back to the sensor, enabling a detailed map to be drawn.

The 2012 helicopter survey revealed the city of Mahendraparvata, founded in 802 by the first great Khmer king, Jayavarman II, more than 300 years before Angkor Wat rose to prominence.

Carvings, linggas potent symbols power intro the riverbed in Cambodia at Phnom Kulen, Siem Reap, Cambodia (Photo from
One of the “must see” parts of Mount Kulen in Siem Reap are these carvings, the 1000 Linggas, at Kbal Spean, which represent potent symbols of power under the riverbed. (Photo from

But Dr Evans has now discovered even more, and it would seem that Mahendraparvata is even bigger than the 2012 research had revealed. He has now identified multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor floor – some big enough to rival the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

Quoted by journalist Lara Dunston in The Guardian, Dr Evans said that: “We have entire cities discovered beneath the forest that no one knew were there – at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and, it turns out, we uncovered only a part of Mahendraparvata on Phnom Kulen … this time we got the whole deal and it’s big, the size of Phnom Penh big.”

Read the full story on The Guardian website now: