A 1,200-year-old city has been uncovered by archaeologists in a thick, mountainous jungle in Cambodia, Australia’s Fairfax Media has reported. An international team of researchers using helicopter-mounted laser-imaging technology discovered dozens of temples connected by networks of roads, canals and dykes some 25 miles north of the famous Angkor Wat complex.
The city, Mahendraparvarta, predates Angkor Wat by 350 years. Archaeologists have been studying the area for some time, but only realized the extent of the city after mapping the area using lidar technology. Lidar is similar to radar, but uses laser pulses in lieu of sound waves to map terrain.
The researchers had to trek through dangerous landmine-ridden jungle to get to the city. Much of the medieval infrastructure is invisible behind a shroud of dense foliage. Promisingly, due to the difficulty of access, it appears some of the temples may have avoided being looted.
With further study, the team hopes to discover why the city was abandoned. According to Damian Evans, a co-leader of the expedition, deforestation and overpopulation may have resulted in the exodus.