Cambodian Mountain Discovery
Two researchers from Otago University’s anatomy department are using radiocarbon dating technology to unravel the mysteries of a lost culture that once inhabited the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia. The researchers have dated samples of coffin wood, tooth enamel and bone from at least 1395 AD to 1650 AD that had been collected during a survey of burial sites. Dr Nancy Beavan said this period coincided with the decline and fall of the powerful lowlands Kingdom of Angkor. “Funeral practices in Angkor involved cremation rather than anything remotely like those found at sites we are studying. This stark difference suggests that, in cultural terms, these unidentified mountain dwellers were a world apart from their lowland contemporaries,” Beavan said. The results have been published in US-based journal Radiocarbon.