Luminescence dating of anthropogenically reset canal sediments from Angkor Borei, Mekong Delta, Cambodia

Sanderson, D.C.W., Bishop, P., Stark, M.T. and Spencer, J.Q. (2003) Luminescence dating of anthropogenically reset canal sediments from Angkor Borei, Mekong Delta, Cambodia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22(10-13), pp. 1111-1121. (doi: 10.1016/S0277-3791(03)00055-6)

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This paper presents a case study in the analysis of anthropogenically reset sedimentary materials, through work undertaken to identify and date sediments in an ancient canal in the Mekong Delta, Cambodia. The emergence of rice cultivating communities, utilising canals for both hydraulic management and transport, represents an important stage in the social evolution of southeast Asia. The emergence of complex polities in the region, which may have depended on both international trade and intensified agriculture, led ultimately to the formation of the famous Khmer empires which dominated the region on several occasions through the 1st and 2nd millennia AD. French colonial scholars identified possibly ancient canals in the region that may have played roles in trade, agriculture, or both. This series of ancient canal features near Angkor Borei has been the subject of recent investigations in a collaboration between the Universities of Glasgow and Hawaii. Luminescence profiling measurements were used to identify the canal bed, by exploiting the contrast between a regional substrate of some 50 ka depositional age and more recent archaeological sediments. In this manner it has been possible to identify the sedimentary substrate, undisturbed canal sediments, and redeposited material. Ages have been estimated for substrate and canal infill sediments. The work represents the first convincing demonstration of luminescence dating of one of these important regional features, and indeed the first confirmation of the presumed antiquity of the canal system around Angkor Borei.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sanderson, Professor David and Bishop, Professor Paul
Authors: Sanderson, D.C.W., Bishop, P., Stark, M.T., and Spencer, J.Q.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Quaternary Science Reviews

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