Amy’s theme for this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge #99 is OLD & NEW.
While I was looking for something relevant I read a Gizmodo article about new technology uncovering old secrets. A 4,000 year old Mayan structure was recently discovered in the Guatemalan jungles using LiDAR technology. LiDAR stands for Light Detection And Ranging and is a remote sensing method that uses light emissions to measure variable distances to the Earth. Archaeologists use the data to reconstruct man made topologies hidden by natural forest growth. By flying over these areas, scientists collect in minutes what used to take years of field work.
All of which reminded me of my visit to Angkor, capital of the Khmer empire that once covered most of South East Asia. That civilization is much younger, a mere 1,300 years old. LiDAR scans have been used there too. In this Smithsonian article “Laser Scans Reveal Massive Khmer Cities Hidden in the Cambodian Jungle” , the full size and reach of the Khmer empire is revealed. This video shows how LiDAR scans were used to create 3D images of the previously known and newly discovered city.
All of which is fascinating and I wish I’d seen it before my visit to Angkor in 2014. But even without the background knowledge, the Angkor ruins were breathtaking. It was awe inspiring to see the grand structures, to touch the stone statues and climb over temple ruins which were once part of a vast empire. Many times during my visit, I felt like I’d stepped back in time – sometimes centuries, sometimes decades.
The ancient gate leading into the city has a steady flow of traffic. Hundreds of people pass through these portals every day. They travel by foot, tuk-tuk, bicycle and motor bike.
To serve the many visitors to Angkor, roadside vendors setup shelters for food and refreshment. Servicing these establishments are modern day knights, supplying fuel to the charcoal fired kitchens.
Every year, thousands of visitors go to Angkor. One of my fondest memories was of this old gentlemen with his brand new iPhone. We didn’t understand each other but communicated through the universal language of smiles.
Many thanks to Amy for allowing me to revisit Angkor and learn about new technologies in the process!
Pictures taken in Angkor, Cambodia in 2014