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Athena Review, Vol.1, No.1


Angkor, Cambodia: a major center of the ancient Khmer culture


New pictures of the huge ceremonial city of Angkor, Cambodia have been produced from earth orbit, using Spaceborne Imaging Radar (SIR-C) methods.

This SIR-C image, taken from the space shuttle Endeavor on September 30, 1994, is revealing new data on settlements and reservoirs from this city which once held a million residents, plus numerous temples and a huge priesthood and bureaucracy (NASA-JPL P-45156 )

The central portion of Angkor includes the main temple complexes of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, each with large temples surrounded by reservoirs and canals . Angkor is in the midst of rainforest which up to now has impeded archaeological survey. Satellite photos, however, are now revealing new areas of buildings and canals which are currently being studied and mapped.

Angkor Thom nicludes the Bayon  temple group of the early 13th century AD  with monumental heads of Bodhissatva, a Buddhist god.  The complex was built by Jayavarman VII (1181-1219 AD) who rebuilt the city and converted many religious sanctuaries from Hinduism to Buddhism. The SIR-C data are being used by the World Monuments Fund and the Royal Angkor Foundation to understand the centuries-long development of this major city of the Khmer culture.


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for full size, detailed images of Angkor with expanded text

for a large (396 k bytes) color SIR-C image of Angkor

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