Canadian Consulting Engineer

Canadian engineering company helps uncover ancient city of Khymer Empire

The Indonesia branch of McElhanney Consulting Services in Vancouver has played a major role in uncovering a lost city in Cambodia. The firm conducted a week-long LiDAR survey to help an international team of archaeologists collect data that...

September 10, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Indonesia branch of McElhanney Consulting Services in Vancouver has played a major role in uncovering a lost city in Cambodia. The firm conducted a week-long LiDAR survey to help an international team of archaeologists collect data that unveiled the lost ancient city of Mahendraparvata or (Mountain of the Great Indra).

The 1,200-year old city sits in dense forest on top of a sparsely populated plateau known as Phnom Kulen. It was the spot where legendary King Jayavarman II declared himself a divinely sanctioned ruler and began building the Khymer Empire which ruled Southeast Asia between the 9th and 15th centuries.

The region was occupied by the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot until 1996 and is mostly inhabited now by slash-and-burn farmers and illegal loggers. However, Mahendraparvata pre-dates the more famous lost ancient city of Angkor which lies 40 kilometres to the southwest and is visited by millions of tourists annually.

McElhanney’s LiDAR survey was done on behalf of a team of eight separate institutions who released the results in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. at the end of June.

LiDAR survey technology bounces lasers off the ground (similar to radar) to map out the topography; combined with GPS it can create an extremely detailed picture of the ground even through dense forest vegetation.

To read an article about the project in the Globe and Mail published August 16, click here.


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