New Perspectives on Early Cambodia from the Lower Mekong Archaeological Project

by Miriam T. Stark

Publication: Khmer Institute | Lower MekongArchaeological Project (LOMAP)

Language : English

2008

In this brief presentation of the aims and prospects of the Lower Mekong Archaeological Project (LOMAP), the author summarizes the key elements for a better understanding of the pre-Angkorean polities and cultures across what is now Southern Cambodia.

Angkor Borei and its connections with the Oc-Eo area (now in modern Vietnam), Chinese sources related to Funan, the earliest Khmer inscriptions found in that area, the status of Angkor Borei as a possible 'capital city' of Funan, the centrality of this area in the legends surrounding the foundation of Kambuja as a country, here are some of the topics considered in the study.

The author, who was the co-founder of the LOMAP, remarks: 'We now know that Angkor Borei was a walled settlement that, at its peak, enclosed an area of at least 300 hectares and contained more than a dozen brick monuments. It was first founded in the 5th or 4th century B.C., and apparently grew as a community through time. Precisely how large the population became and where all the people lived is not yet clear, although future work will concentrate on these topics.'

Note: in 2019, the collections of the សារមន្ទីរអង្គរបុរី Angkor Borei Museum have been restructured, and a series of exhibitions organized in the city of Takeo.

About the Author

Miriam T. Stark

Professor Miriam T. Stark has worked in Southeast Asian archaeology since 1987 and currently directs field-based archaeological research programs in Cambodia that focus on political economy and state formation.

She is a co-director of the Lower Mekong Archaeological Project and a co-investigator with the Greater Angkor Project and the Khmer Production and Exchange Project.

Since 1995, she has taught in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, with specialties in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Archaeological Method and Theory.

She also lectured on the AIA’s national circuit Cultural Heritage Policy Committee (2013–16 term), focusing on ancient trade networks that linked Southeast Asia to the rest of the Old World, and the origins of Southeast Asian civilizations, with a particular focus on the rise of the Khmer Empire.