Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Grace Ford Salvatori Hall (GFS), 207
3601 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089
The Rise of the Khmer Empire:
From Angkor Borei to Angkor Wat
Dr. Miriam Stark, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology
University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Two of ancient Southeast Asia’s earliest and largest states arose in what is now Cambodia; each centered on a capital called nôkôr or Angkor (from the Sanskrit nágara), or city. Research in the Mekong Delta of southern Cambodia sheds light on the first millennium CE capital of Angkor Borei, whose populations engaged with international maritime trade networks linking China and Southeast Asia with India and Rome. The Chinese called this polity Funan. Several centuries later, the area we call Greater Angkor rose to prominence more than 200 km northwest of the delta, on the banks of the Tonle Sap Lake. Angkor Wat is the region’s best-known temple, but archaeologists have recorded more than 1,400 temples and shrines in the 1000 km2 area that was the Khmer empire’s urban epicenter. Each of these great ritual-ceremonial cities anchored its polity to the local landscape, and archaeological research since 1995 has deepened our understanding of the regional context and configurations that urbanism assumed in each setting. This lecture reviews recent archaeological evidence for the rise of the Khmer empire, beginning with an archaeological exploration of the origins of Cambodia’s earliest civilization.