The real reason why the ancient Khmer Empire was forced to move the capital, only to make a historical legend

Angkor is not always the capital of the Khmer Empire. There was a time when it was moved to another place, only that place collapsed so quickly.

The ancient Khmer empire is still considered one of the mighty empires in Southeast Asia's history. This empire has collapsed, but once owned the largest territory in Southeast Asia, an area spanning Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand .

The symbol of the Khmer empire is the magnificent capital of Angkor, a legend of Southeast Asia. But in fact, Angkor is not always the capital of this empire. Earlier, the empire's capital was Koh Ker, but only for 16 years from 928 to 944 collapsed, forcing them to relocate to the legendary Ankor.

Picture 1 of The real reason why the ancient Khmer Empire was forced to move the capital, only to make a historical legend
The symbol of the Khmer empire is the magnificent capital of Angkor.

The problem is that no one is clear why the story happened. But now it is different. According to a recent study using underground radar scanning technology, archaeologists have finally revealed the reason for the downfall of the Khmer capital of Koh Ker: possibly because there was no The groundwater reservoir is large enough.

Specifically, experts from Flinders University (Australia) have found the underground structures beneath the capital of Koh Ker , including water lines extending for kilometers from the Stun Rongea River. Based on calculations, the reservoir here does not seem to have enough capacity, resulting in frequent flooding.

That was really bad news for King Jayavarman IV who was reigning at that time. He was forced to bring the empire back to Angkor, which was once the imperial capital before moving to Koh Ker. In Angkor, the waterways are quite well designed and operate without problems.

"At this time, focusing on civil projects such as temple construction, urban renewal and water system development is a key priority for the Khmer kings," - Ian Moffat, archaeologist at Flinders University share.

Picture 2 of The real reason why the ancient Khmer Empire was forced to move the capital, only to make a historical legend
The lake in Koh Ker does not have enough capacity, resulting in frequent flooding.

King Jayavarman IV, too, did everything to have a developed water system for Koh Ker. In fact, the water management system here is also the largest in the history of the empire, though not really working effectively. It is estimated that at least 10,000 people are involved in building it.

Unfortunately, based on the surveys it seems that this system has shown instability in the first rainy season.

It is known that water management is an important issue for an agriculture-focused empire like the Khmer, due to the monsoon weather and the unpredictable water supply of the year.

"It is not too difficult to understand when the collapse of the large and ambitious water system at Koh Ker has reduced the prestige of this place, thereby making them decide to relocate the capital to Angkor," - Moffat share.

The relocation of capital to Angkor is a logical move. Back then, it was home to more than half a million people, and it was important that the water system worked a lot better than Koh Ker. However, the later capital of Angkor could not maintain its ability to conduct water. Experts say the reason lies in the natural climate change process, making the flood cycle and drought last longer and eventually cause the collapse of the empire.

Picture 3 of The real reason why the ancient Khmer Empire was forced to move the capital, only to make a historical legend
These structures were discovered beneath the capital Koh Ker.

At the present time, historians still do not know much about Koh Ker. Just know that it is located on a gentle hillside, located about 90km northeast of Angkor. However, with this research, the secrets of the Khmer empire are gradually revealing. In early October, another buried city of the empire was discovered after decades of searching.

The research is published in the journal Geoarchaeology.

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