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Ben Lawrie  |  London  |  UK

jungle atlantis

2x60' BBC2 / Smithsonian, TX 2014

Buried in the Cambodian jungle lie the lost remains of the great medieval city of Angkor, once the capital of one of the world's greatest civilisations.

 

Today, only the great stone temples like Angkor Wat survive. But Angkor was once a teeming metropolis, full of life - the biggest city on Earth.

Now, a team of archaeologists are using a revolutionary technology called lidar to reveal the true scale and splendour of this abandoned megacity.

 

Deep in the jungle, they have discovered a sophisticated network of roads and canals - the forgotten world of Angkor's greatest ever king, Jayavarman VII, a leader still revered in Cambodia centuries later.

This new laser technology has completely transformed archaeology in Angkor.  By unlocking the secrets of how this vast city flourished, the team are shedding new light on the dramatic events leading to its fall. 

 

Their groundbreaking new work explains why the world's greatest medieval metropolis was abandoned to the jungle.

Markets

Religion

Trees

Megacity

"Part travelogue, part history lesson, this engaging documentary tells the story of the rise and demise of Angkor, the vast temple metropolis built by the Khmer people of Cambodia in the 12th Century, and of the archaeologists and scientists attempting to learn more about the circumstances around its sudden downfall."

“Fascinating.”

"This two-parter is an absolute gem."

"Fascinating… During its 12th-century peak, this city spanned a larger area than modern-day NYC and had a population of nearly three quarters of a million. London at that time was home to only 18,000. Our schools’ history curriculum may pretend that civilisation is a strictly Western invention, but at least television can fill in the blanks."

"Intriguing."

“Absorbing.”

"Fascinating."

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