Mind the Gap: Occupation at Angkor Wat and Implications for the decline of Angkor


This is an abstract from the "Paradigms Shift: New Interpretations in Mainland Southeast Asian Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The Angkor Empire controlled or influenced much of mainland Southeast Asia from the 9-15th centuries CE. Traditionally, scholars have dated the end of the Angkor Empire to 1431 CE, when the capital was sacked by the kingdom of Ayuddhaya in Siam (Thailand). More recent archaeological work has also demonstrated a strain to the water management network due to a series of droughts and heavy monsoons in the 14-15th centuries, which also contributed to a decline of elite socio-political power and depopulation of the region. In this paper, we add to the evolving narrative regarding Angkor’s collapse by presenting radiocarbon dates from three field seasons of excavations on occupation mounds within the Angkor Wat temple enclosure. These radiocarbon dates show a 13-15th century GAP in occupation at the site. We contextualize these dates with other published radiocarbon dates from across Angkor as well as historic and art historic/architectural sources to demonstrate the complexity of the Angkorian "collapse" and to complicate narratives regarding the transition from the Angkorian to the Post-Angkorian period.

Cite this Record

Mind the Gap: Occupation at Angkor Wat and Implications for the decline of Angkor. Alison K. Carter, Hong Wang, Miriam Stark, Rachna Chhay, Piphal Heng. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452135)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 92.549; min lat: -11.351 ; max long: 141.328; max lat: 27.372 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23430