Refuted theory about the sudden collapse of Angkor

Scientists from the University of Sydney (Australia) after five years of research, published an article in which proves that the reason for the collapse of the legendary temple city of Angkor was not a military invasion, as previously thought, and climate change.

a Brief research report published on the website of the University of Sydney. A common theory is that the famous city of Angkor, located in the jungles of Cambodia, was founded 900 years BC.

For five centuries it has grown to a size comparable to the area of modern cities. It is called one of the largest pre-industrial centers of the world. It is known that this luxurious temple was built about 300 thousands of workers using thousands of elephants.

it is considered that in 1431 he was suddenly abandoned by their inhabitants. And the reason for this was the invasion of the troops of another powerful city-state of Ayutthaya, which was located on the territory of modern Thailand.

the Australian experts, led by Dan and penny decided to test whether this is so. In 2016, the first time they took the cores out of the ground under the temple complexes of Angkor. Since then, additional samples were taken annually. In addition, scientists have studied tree rings which are told about climate change.

the Analysis showed that from the middle of XIV century, Angkor experienced a very powerful climatic shocks. First, the region was struck by severe drought. Then it was replaced by a protracted period of floods caused by heavy rains, and then again came a long drought.

According to penny, the city was not ready for such dynamics. When the drought came, the townspeople built an advanced in those days the water system. However, heavy rains destroyed it. When freewheeling new wave of drought, to restore the system completely doesn’t become.

“We were looking for evidence that the inhabitants of this city did with the landscape, how they used fire, as did the structure of vegetation, explains Dan penny. We found no evidence of the sudden departure of inhabitants from the city in 1431. The decrease in population were very long”.

the Researchers suggest that it could take a century. The urban elite gradually leave. Penny notes that it is unlikely that the stress from abrupt climate change was the only cause of the collapse of Angkor. But he clearly played a decisive role.

the Local population tried to adapt to changing conditions. But this society was agrarian, so its dependence on the weather was very large. To feed in conditions of alternating droughts and floods, the population of such a large city it was almost impossible. This has led to the decline of the ancient metropolis. The advantage got smaller shopping city in the Mekong Delta, in which, apparently, gradually and moved the population of Angkor.