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.
How did the largest city in the pre-industrial world function? What was Khmer society like during the ‘golden age’ of Angkor? How did this civilisation falter and fade? Time period covered: 1100 - 1431 Lachlan begins this episode with a discussion of one of the most impressive and famous examples of Khmer architecture; Angkor Wat. The details of this building, and what it meant for the civilisation that could build it. We also learn about the life and times of Jayavarman VII, widely recognised as the ‘greatest’ of the Devaraja who lead the Khmer to conquer the greatest extent of territory and build some of its most iconic temples. Zhou Daguan, a Chinese diplomat who visited the region, is discussed as he gives a rare insight into the lives and culture of the Khmer at Angkor. Following this, the different factors and theories which are believed to have led the city into disrepair and disfunction are also relayed – as are the fascinating methods by which these theories are based on. The peak of the Khmer civilisation can easily be related to some aspects of the Khmer Rouge revolution, and the ideas about the country’s past for some leaders of that movement are discussed. Visit www.shadowsofutopia.com for more information and sources.