Study reveals mystery of how huge stones got to Angkor Wat

New research done by Etsuo Uchida and Ichita Shimoda of Waseda University¬†reveals the mystery behind how the gigantic sandstone blocks at Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat — built as a Hindu temple, then repurposed as a Buddhist one — were ultimately brought to the site. The stones, which archaeologists knew came from the base of a nearby mountain, were transported via a network of hundreds of canals. Previously, archaeologists and researchers believed they were¬†ferried there by a canal and a river. The new finding helps explain how the complex was constructed in such a relatively short period of time.

According to Live Science writer Tia Ghose:

“To see whether this was the case, Uchida’s team surveyed the area and found 50 quarries along an embankment at the base of Mount Kulen. They also scoured satellite images of the area and found a network of hundreds of canals and roads linking the quarries to the temple site. The distance between the quarries and the site along the route Uchida’s team found was only 22 miles (37 kilometers), compared with the 54 miles (90 km) the river route would have taken.”

(Photo by Keith Parker via Flickr, using a CC-BY-SA license.)