- Published: Tuesday, 30 July 2019 09:25
The story of the rise and fall of Southeast Asia’s greatest premodern empire is known to us all in some shape or form. But the dominant narrative, that Angkor was abruptly abandoned after the city was attacked from the neighbouring kingdom of Ayutthaya in 1431 CE, bringing about a cataclysmic end to the mighty Khmer Empire that had endured for more than 600 years, has been under scrutiny for some time. More light on this “doomsday” scenario has been shed by recent research* at the site, and specifically at the iconic temple Angkor Wat, which looked at events before and after that final fall. Many gaps still remain in our knowledge of how the Khmer Empire came to end, but it is becoming clearer that the temples that sat at the centre of capital life were not abandoned. At least not in one swoop.