Greater Angkor and Global Urbanism


Cambodia is home to Angkor, one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. Greater Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire, was a low-density city covered about a 1000 sq km and was the home of between 750,000 to 900,000 people in the 12th century CE. The urban complex was largely abandoned in the 14th and 15th centuries. Its central 300 sq km is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the world-famous temple of Angkor Wat, one of humankind’s largest religious monuments which has continued in use to the present day.

In this episode, world-renowned archaeologist Professor Roland Fletcher joins Dr Natali Pearson to examine the structure of Angkor’s social and spatial organisation; the way the urban complex operated in its environment. Reflecting on the metropolis’ demise, Roland argues that archaeological study of Angkor can teach us lessons about the vulnerability of modern-day urbanism in a time of increasing climate risk.

About Roland Fletcher:

Roland Fletcher is Professor of Theoretical and World Archaeology at the University of Sydney. Roland is also Director of the Greater Angkor Project – a collaboration between the University of Sydney, the Authority for the Protection of the Site and Management of the Region of Angkor (APSARA) in Cambodia, and the École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO), that has been ongoing since 1998. He is the author of The Limits of Settlement Growth, published by Cambridge University Press in 1995, and has published extensively on urbanism.

For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website:

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Natali Pearson

Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.

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