Environmental change and the fall of Angkor, Cambodia
Mary Beth Day from the University of Cambridge was interviewed on BBC's Material World about her recent work at Angkor in Cambodia. Angkor was the seat of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to 15th centuries AD – it's a vast complex of monuments, reservoirs and canals covering around 1000km2.
By analysing sediments from the largest reservoir, the West Baray, Mary Beth and colleagues found evidence for a pendulum of extreme droughts and heavy rainy seasons that might just have proved too much for the Khmer's sophisticated hydro-engineering system, and could be associated with the decline of the Angkorian kingdom.
Mary Beth's research paper is published in PNAS, Paleoenvironmental history of the West Baray, Angkor (Cambodia). Her Material World interview starts at 22:12, but if you listen from the beginning you'll also hear from earlier interviewee Howard Falcon-Lang, who recently found a 'lost' collection of fossils – including some collected by Darwin – in a cupboard at the British Geological Survey.
Posted on 31 January 2012
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