Water, Weather and the Fallacy of the Rationalist - Romanticism dichotomy

Author(s): Roland Fletcher

Year: 2016


Angkor, in Cambodia, between the 7th and the 13th century depended on the largest urban water management infrastructure of the agrarian urban world. The key elements of this infrastructure came into being before the global climate transition of the 9th-10th century CE. That infrastructure was vital for coping with the start of the Medieval Warm Phase when other societies around the world experienced severe crises. By the 14th century, some parts of Angkor’s infrastructure were nearly 500 years old and parts of the network had been modified or gone out of use. When the climate transition to the Little Ice Age began in the 13th -14th centuries, the network was hit by repeated extremes of water flow due to mega-monsoons that it was not built to handle. A post-processual/ contextualist (Romanticist) viewpoint is essential for trying to understand why the Khmer did what they did. A processual (Rationalist) viewpoint is essential for understanding the outcomes of what they did relative to the circumstances. The theoretical disputes of the previous quarter of century in Archaeology have been a futile misapprehension of the multi-scalar characteristics of cultural evolution.

Cite this Record

Water, Weather and the Fallacy of the Rationalist - Romanticism dichotomy. Roland Fletcher. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403503)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;