Tom Chandler is a senior lecturer at Monash University. His research has focused upon the design and development of immersive simulations of the past, particularly the medieval Cambodian capital of Angkor. In what is the first interview of the series Lachlan speaks with Tom about how immersive virtual recreations can transform our imagination of the 'skeletal remains' of Angkor. The uses of this research for historians as well as the resources that Tom and his team at the Virtual Angkor Project are using to simulate the past. Visit www.virtualangkor.com for more information.
In part two Lachlan explains the golden age of the Khmer Empire, the enduring symbols built during this Angkorean era and the impact of its most powerful rulers. What comes up must come down however, and following the rule of Jayavarman VII the gradual transformation into the Cambodia we are more familiar with took place. During this time the capital was visited by Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan, and the book he wrote about his stay in Angkor - 'The Customs of Cambodia', is given some time as we highlight some of the 'colour' that this account provides historians. Lachlan then explains the most common theories given for the collapse of the Khmer Empire and the abandonment of Angkor - and whether these are even the right words we should use to describe this period.