The massive sandstone bricks used to construct the 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat were brought to the site via a network of hundreds of canals, according to new research.
The findings shed light on how the site’s 5 million to 10 million bricks, some weighing up to 3,300 pounds (1,500 kilograms), made it to the temple from quarries at the base of a nearby mountain.
“We found many quarries of sandstone blocks used for the Angkor temples and also the transportation route of the sandstone blocks,” wrote study co-author Estuo Uchida of Japan’s Waseda University, in an email.
In the 12th century, King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Empire began work on a 500-acre (200 hectare) temple in the capital city of Angkor, in what is now Cambodia. The complex was built to honor the Hindu god Vishnu, but 14th-century leaders converted the site into a Buddhist temple.
Archaeologist knew that the rock came from quarries at the base of a mountain nearby, but wondered how the sandstone bricks used to build Angkor Wat reached the site. Previously people thought the stones were ferried to Tonle Sap Lake via canal, and then rowed against the current through another river to the temples, Uchida told LiveScience.
To see whether this was the case, Uchida’s team surveyed the area and found 50 quarries along an embankment at the base of Mt. Kulen. They also scoured satellite images of the area and found a network of hundreds of canalsand roads linking the quarries to the temple site. The distance between the quarries and the site along the route Uchida’s team found was only 22 miles (37 kilometers), compared with the 54 miles (90 km) the river route would have taken.
The grid of canals suggests the ancient builders took a shortcut when constructing the temple, which may explain how the imposing complex was built in just a few decades.
Posts Tagged With: Temple
Mexican archaeologists said Friday they uncovered the largest number of skulls ever found in one offering at the most sacred temple of the Aztec empire dating back more than 500 years.
The finding reveals new ways the pre-Colombian civilization used skulls in rituals at Mexico City’s Templo Mayor, experts said. That’s where the most important Aztec ceremonies took place between 1325 until the Spanish conquest in 1521.
The 50 skulls were found at one sacrificial stone. Five were buried under the stone, and each had holes on both sides — signaling they were hung on a skull rack.
Archaeologist Raul Barrera of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said the other 45 skulls appeared to have just been dumped on top of the stone.
The team of archeologists unearthed the skulls and jaw bones in August. They stumbled on them as they were renovating a section of the Templo Mayor in the heart of Mexico City.
Barrera said they believe the 45 skulls were those of women and men between 20 and 35 years old and could have been dug up from other sites and reburied.
Last August, the Mexican government announced experts had found an unprecedented human burial at another spot in the same temple in which the skeleton of a young woman, possibly sacrificed personifying a goddess, was surrounded by piles of nearly 1,800 bones. Another unusual finding this summer was a “sacred tree,” which looks like a battered oak trunk emerging from a well and which experts say was brought from a mountain region for a ritual.
The skulls shown to the media Friday were in good condition but cracked on each side of the head, possibly because of the wooden stake that ran through them so they could be placed in a skull rack.
Barrera said the key in the discovery was the sacrificial rock, which looks like a gray headstone.
“Underneath the sacrificial stone, we found an offering of five skulls. These skulls were pierced with a stick,” he said. “These are very important findings.”
University of Florida archaeologist Susan Gillespie, who was not involved in the excavation, said it caught her attention that the skulls that had been on the rack, called tzompantli, were buried separately.
“It provides rather novel information on the use and reuse of skulls for ritual events at the Templo Mayor,” Gillespie said in an email.
Also, the common belief about Aztec sacrificial stones is that a person being sacrificed was killed by cutting open the chest and pulling out the heart.
“We normally associate (it) with heart removal rather than decapitation,” she said. “It ultimately gives us a better understanding of how the Aztecs used the human body in various ways in their ritual practices.
Sixteen feet (five meters) below street level in Mexico City, archaeologists have found a jumble of 1,789 bones from children, teenagers, and adults along with the complete skeleton of a young woman.
The burial, dating to the 1480s, lies at the foot of the main temple in the sacred ceremonial precinct of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, founded by the Aztecs in 1325. The Aztecs dominated central Mexico until falling to Spanish conquistadores in 1521.
Although several burials with multiple remains have been uncovered previously in this precinct, this is the first that includes human bones from such a wide span of ages.
The discovery offers a rare opportunity to study Aztec funerary rituals and religious beliefs. Few burials from that culture have come to light, most likely because they lie beneath modern buildings.
Several people have been injured in a shooting incident at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., just south of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
Update at 1:13 ET: Two shooters are possibly still inside with children as hostages, according to someone who sent a text message to a Journal Sentinel reporter, the Journal-Sentinel reports.
CNN is reporting that the shooter is at large.
Update at 1:07 ET: Reports of 20 to 30 shot at Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, possible hostages, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
There are reports that the head priest was locked inside a restroom with a cell phone and said there were as many as 30 victims in temple.
As of about noon, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said it had not been called to the scene.
Meanwhile, Brookfield police officers were dispatched to the Sikh Temple at 3675 N. Calhoun Road as a precaution in the aftermath of the Oak Creek shooting.
At least three squads were at the temple in Waukesha County.
About 50 people were at the Brookfield temple for a morning service and many of them went outside after they learned of the shooting in Oak Creek.
Original post: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinelis reporting that multiple people, an undetermined number between 8 and 20, have been injured in a shooting incident at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., just south of Milwaukee.
The shooting took place around 11 a.m. local time at the Sikh Temple, 7512 S. Howell Ave., in Oak Creek.
Oak Creek police, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies have responded.