Settlement within the city of Koh Ker as revealed by archaeological topography and ceramics
Tho Thon (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA National Authority))
Damian Evans (École française d'Extrême-Orient)
Paper short abstract:
We extend a project of systematic, landscape-scale surface ceramic collection from the greater Angkor area to include Koh Ker, with a view to elucidating similarities and differences between assemblages from the two sites, and assessing the dynamic linkages between them and broader trade networks.
Paper long abstract:
Understanding settlement and urbanism at the site of Koh Ker is important not only for what it reveals about the history of Koh Ker, but also for understanding its political and cultural relationship Angkor. In this paper we describe research that was undertaken with a view to understanding the dynamic interplay between Angkor and Koh Ker, including differences and similarities in the structure of temple sites and their environs, water management features, and patterns of urbanism and urban planning from the state-level to the domestic level. A large number of occupation mounds have been found in the Koh Ker area, and these are often associated with dense distributions of surface ceramics. This largely-neglected archaeological material is potentially very informative about issues such as the history and chronology of Koh Ker, and also the city's economic linkages to other parts of the Khmer Empire and beyond. We have initiated a large-scale, systematic surface survey of settlement areas at Koh Ker including the collection of ceramic material for lab-based analyses, similar to surveys undertaken or underway at Angkor. In this paper we present a range of preliminary conclusions about the ceramic material at Koh Ker based on the analysis of diagnostic material collected in the field, and analyse the implications for our understanding of the city's history. Furthermore, we present a comparison between the material collected at Koh Ker and Angkor, in order to provide insights into the relationships between settlement systems, histories and political economies of both sites.
Koh Ker, an early capital of the Khmer Empire—new results of archaeological, epigraphic and art historical research