24 February 2022Share
A new IMAX 3D film about the hidden history of Cambodia features research by ACU Associate Professor of Geography Dr Duncan Cook.
Angkor: The Lost Empire of Cambodia opened on 16 February at the California Science Centre, as part of an international touring exhibition on the history of the Khmer empire.
At the height of its power between the 9th and 15th centuries, Angkor was considered the most extensive urban complex of the pre-industrial world. But by the late 16th century, this capital of the Khmer empire was largely abandonment and being overrun by the surrounding jungles. The people of Angkor left very few clues explaining why their mega-city was abandoned.
Angkor: The Lost Empire of Cambodia seeks to uncover the secret of the decline of Angkor. The film interviews scientists who are uncovering the past of the region.
Dr Cook is a Geographer who uses geoscience techniques to reconstruct the environment of the past. For his work in Cambodia, he reconstructed the climate record during the rise and fall of the medieval Khmer kingdom, using mineral deposits that accumulate in caves to reconstruct the medieval climate.
His research shows that the rise of the Khmer Empire was linked to a hospitable climate and that the decline of the Empire may have resulted from prolonged drought conditions in the 14th-16th century CE.
Beyond the historical implications, this research provides lessons for contemporary societies considering the likely effect of climate change.
Angkor: The Lost Empire of Cambodia is a 3D IMAX documentary film currently screening in the United States and Canada. News of its future screening in Australia is still to come.
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