A 3.5 ka record of paleoenvironments and human occupation at Angkor Borei, Mekong Delta, southern Cambodia

Paul Bishop, Dan Penny, Miriam Stark, Marian Scott
2003 Geoarchaeology  
Microfossil and sedimentological data from a 3.1 m core extracted from a reservoir (baray) at the ancient Cambodian settlement of Angkor Borei in the Mekong Delta have provided a continuous record of sedimentation and paleoenvironments dating from about 2000 cal yr B.C. Palynological data indicate that for much of the cal. 1st and 2nd millennia B.C. mangroves dominated the regional vegetation, while extensively and regularly burnt grasslands dominated the local vegetation. Turbid, nutrient-rich
more » ... standing water characterized the core locality, perhaps suggesting a connection with rivers in the area. An abrupt change during the cal. 5th to 6th centuries A.D. involved a dramatic reduction in grasslands and the expansion of secondary forest or re-growth taxa. These changes are synchronous with an abrupt decline in the concentration of microscopic charcoal particles in the sediments, and the colonization of the core locality by swamp forest plants. These changes are taken to indicate a shift in landuse strategies or, possibly, a period of land abandonment. The age for the construction of the baray is interpreted to be in the 17th-19th centuries, but this dating remains speculative. Construction of the Angkor Borei baray exploited a preexisting body of standing water, so its construction was fundamentally different from the methods used at the Angkorian capital in northern Cambodia.
doi:10.1002/gea.10067 fatcat:hz45p7bazndojo3325pa3nd7nu