The sandstone blocks each weigh up to 1.5 tonnes and originate from quarries at Mount Kulen. It was thought they were taken 35 kilometres along a canal to Tonlé Sap Lake, rafted another 35 km along the lake, then taken up the Siem Reap River for 15 km, against the current.
Thinking this was unlikely, Etsuo Uchida and Ichita Shimoda of Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, used satellite images to search for a shortcut. The canals they discovered led from the foot of Mount Kulen to Angkor – a gentle 34-km route, as opposed to the arduous 90-km trek previously suggested. The pair also uncovered more than 50 quarries at the foot of Mount Kulen and along the route. The stones they found matched those in the temples (Journal of Archaeological Science, doi.org/jhf).
October 21, 2012
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