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Residential patterning at Angkor Wat

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2015

Miriam T. Stark
Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i-Mānoa, 2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (Email:;
Damian Evans
The Siem Reap Centre, l'École française d'Extrême-Orient, Boeung Don Pa, Slorkram, Siem Reap, Cambodia (Email:
Chhay Rachna
Angkor International Centre of Research and Documentation, APSARA National Authority, Cambodia (Email:
Heng Piphal
Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i-Mānoa, 2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (Email:;
Alison Carter
Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 109 Davenport Hall MC-148, 607 South Mathews Avenue #109, Urbana, 61801 IL, USA (Email:


Considerable attention has been devoted to the architecture and art history of Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple in the last century. There has, however, been little research on the functions and internal organisation of the large rectangular enclosure surrounding the temple. Such enclosures have long been assumed to have been sacred precincts, or perhaps ‘temple-cities’: work exploring the archaeological patterning for habitation within them has been limited. The results of LiDAR survey and excavation have now revealed evidence for low-density residential occupation in these areas, possibly for those servicing the temple. Recent excavations within the enclosure challenge our traditional understanding of the social hierarchy of the Angkor Wat community and show that the temple precinct, bounded by moat and wall, may not have been exclusively the preserve of the wealthy or the priestly elite.

Antiquity , Volume 89 , Issue 348 , December 2015 , pp. 1439 - 1455
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2015 

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