New Excavations at Early Yasodharapura, Angkor: Evidence of Urban Planning and Water Systems

Authority for the Protection of the Site and Management of the Region of Angkor (APSARA), Cambodia

This presentation provides new insights into the urban planning and water systems of Yoshodharapura, the 2nd capital of the Khmer Empire. Combining archaeological excavation and LiDAR mapping, the project targeted the eastern part of Phnom Bakheng in order to identify the types of urban planning employed, settlement mounds and ponds, and water systems constructed when the city was designed and built during the reign of Yasovarman I in the late 9th to early 10th centuries AD. Although some previous research had been undertaken on settlement mounds along roads inside and outside of the city, a number of important questions still remain with regards to settlement planning and the occupants of these areas within Phnom Bakheng between the AD 889 and 910, during the reign of King Yoshovarman. For example, how many moats were constructed in Yoshodharapura, and what types of communities inhabited the mounds, were they servants, groups of people that received donations from the king, or labourers? The project identified three different areas of settlement in the city: settlement mounds with the Eastern Baray reservoirs, settlement around the temple of Phnom Bakheng, and settlement mounds along canals, rivers, and ponds. The new research has also provided new details on the potential inhabitants of these areas within Yoshodharapura.