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Urbanism after Angkor (14th-18th century): re-defining Collapse


The collapse of the medieval city of Angkor, in modern Cambodia, and its kingdom created an historical ‘dark age’ that we believe is more apparent than real. Applying a multi-disciplinary landscape archaeology approach to this ‘dark age’ of SE Asian history allows the demise of low-density urbanism and the development of new towns to be embedded within a dynamic environmental context. Understanding the transformations that followed the breakdown of low-density urbanism has global implications.


Associate Professor Daniel Penny.

Research location

School of Geosciences

Program type



This project will focus on developing sediment-based records of land cover change from the so-called ‘middle period’ cities that grew to prominence in the wake of Angkor’s demise. Palaeo-environmental records of demise and occupation are critical for identifying the impact of new settlements and the expansion of urban centres during and after Angkor’s demise. The diminution of land use in and around the ‘old’ centres and the intensification of land use in and around the ‘new’ towns of the Middle Period will be manifest in environmental proxies preserved in sedimentary archives (pollen spores, algae, charcoal and chemical pollutants), allowing estimates of rates and degrees of reforestation and land clearance. 
As part of a well-established international team of researchers with more than 120 years of cumulative experience in the region, you will take advantage of an exciting and dynamic research environment that draws together leading scholars from Australia, Cambodia, France, UK and the USA.

Additional information

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)
You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2269

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