A mist-covered mountain in Cambodia gives up its treasure, writes Lindsay Murdoch.
Scratched and exhausted, Damian Evans pushed through dense jungle into a clearing where mountain villagers long ago attempted to grow rice, stepping on to a weed-covered mound.
”Bingo,” the Australian archaeologist said as he picked up and examined an ancient sandstone block.
”This is a collapsed temple that was part of a bustling civilisation that existed 1200 years ago … It looks like the looters were unaware it was here.”
LOST CIVILIZATION IN CAMBODIA
Bhuddas carved into the mossy rock face. Photo: Nick Moir
Over the next few hours Evans and a small group of archaeologists hacked through more landmine-strewn jungle and waded through swollen rivers and bogs to discover the ruins of five other previously unrecorded temples and evidence of ancient canals, dykes and roads, confirming data from revolutionary airborne laser-scanning technology called lidar.
The discoveries matched years of archaeological ground research to reveal Mahendraparvata, a lost mediaeval city where people existed on a mist-shrouded mountain called Phnom Kulen 350 years before the building of the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in north-western Cambodia.
Subsequent searches have identified another two dozen hidden temple sites.
by Lindsay Murdoch
The Sydney Morning Herald