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.