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The Khmer did not live by rice alone: Archaeobotanical investigations at Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm

Castillo, CC; Carter, A; Kingwell-Banham, E; Zhuang, Y; Weisskopf, A; Chhay, R; Heng, P; ... Stark, M; + view all (2020) The Khmer did not live by rice alone: Archaeobotanical investigations at Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. Archaeological Research in Asia , 24 , Article 100213. 10.1016/j.ara.2020.100213. Green open access

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Abstract

The Angkorian Empire was at its peak from the 10th to 13th centuries CE. It wielded great influence across mainland Southeast Asia and is now one of the most archaeologically visible polities due to its expansive religious building works. This paper presents archaeobotanical evidence from two of the most renowned Angkorian temples largely associated with kings and elites, Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. But it focuses on the people that dwelt within the temple enclosures, some of whom were involved in the daily functions of the temple. Archaeological work indicates that temple enclosures were areas of habitation within the Angkorian urban core and the temples and their enclosures were ritual, political, social, and economic landscapes. This paper provides the first attempt to reconstruct some aspects of the lives of the non-elites living within the temple enclosures by examining the archaeobotanical evidence, both macroremains and phytoliths, from residential contexts and data derived from inscriptions and Zhou Daguan's historical account dating to the 13th century CE. Research indicates that plants found within the temple enclosure of Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat were grown for ritual or medicinal use, and also formed important components of the diet and household economy.

Type: Article
Title: The Khmer did not live by rice alone: Archaeobotanical investigations at Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ara.2020.100213
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ara.2020.100213
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113086
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