Uncovering Angkor: Integrated Remote Sensing Applications in the Archaeology of Early Cambodia

  • Damian Evans
  • Arianna Traviglia
Part of the Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing book series (RDIP, volume 16)


For more than a decade the multinational (Australian, French, Cambodian) Greater Angkor Project has been investigating the rise and fall of medieval urbanism at Angkor, in Cambodia, using a diverse range of techniques, including extensive use of remotely sensed imagery to find, map and analyse elements of urban form. The research activities have focussed on the role of Angkor’s elaborate water management system in the demise of the urban complex, and has recently been expanded to include nearby ‘secondary’ settlement complexes such as provincial centres and ephemeral capitals. In such a research agenda, it is crucial to gain a full understanding of the original hydrological layout of the Angkor basin, in order to provide essential insights into human modifications to the natural hydrology and topography. To this end, a number of multispectral satellite images (including QuickBird and ASTER) were processed and analysed to identify palaeo-environmental traces and anthropogenic features relevant to the identification of remnants of the original fluvial system. Vegetation indices (VI), Vegetation suppression and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) were adopted as the primary procedures in order to detect relevant traces over differing environments such as perennially forested zones, scrubland and barren terrain. The outcome of this work has been to add significant chronological resolution to the current map of Greater Angkor.


Angkor Cambodia Multispectral data QuickBird ASTER Vegetation Indices Vegetation suppression Principal Component Analysis (PCA) 



The authors wish to thank the Australian Research Council (DP0880490, DP0211012, DP0558130, LX0882079); Faculty of Arts, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, and Archaeological Computing Laboratory at the University of Sydney; Robert Christie Foundation; GeoEye Foundation; NASA; German Aerospace Centre (DLR); National Geographic; Carlyle Greenwell Bequest; Iain A Cameron Memorial Travel Grant; Royal Angkor Foundation Koh Ker Project; APSARA National Authority and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (Cambodia); Global Heritage Fund Banteay Chmar Project; Angkor Ultralight Survey; Bun Narith; Ros Borath; Soeung Kong; Heng Sophady; Ngaire Richards; Christophe Pottier; Roland Fletcher; Mitch Hendrickson; Martin King; Ian Johnson and Andrew Wilson.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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