Khmer Ancient Urban Planning and Water Management

1Cambodia National Commission for UNESCO

2School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

In Khmer culture, urban planning and water management are considered key factors leading to social change and enabling the transition to the state level. In the case of the Angkor civilisation, various patterns of city construction emerged, for example, the city with a square moat or wall, the technique of the grid system to divide the interior of the city, the king built a large body of water called a baray within his city as a royal gift, and so on. It is believed that such well-organised city planning not only served agricultural purposes but was also meant to promote the concept of kinship through religious philosophy. In this context, the prototype and chronology of the Khmer city pose a major question for researchers. Therefore, this panel will focus on the new evidence from archaeological investigations that help to interpret the different patterns of urban planning and water management of the ancient Khmer culture, with the five papers offering chronological case studies from the 7th to 13th century.