Saturday, August 18, 2007

Newly-discovered jungle temples weren't so green

When we see ancient structures like Mayan ruins or the temples at Angkor Wat, we tend to assume they were "green" and in harmony with the environment, as if ecologically harmful construction practices were only brought on by the Industrial Revolution.

Not so, at least in the case of Angkor; and as it turns out for the ancient Khmer architects, what you don't know can kill you. Australian researchers using satellite and radar imaging have discovered a staggering seventy-four previously unknown temples at Angkor, obscured by heavy vegetation. Why did these structures become abandoned and fall into obscurity? Turns out the builders had installed over 1,000 man-made ponds and a complex irrigation system, which researchers believe eventually "[exposed] the water management system to increased sedimentation and erratic water flows," mucking up the ecosystem. Who knew?

via science daily

Posted by: hipstomp |

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