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VIRTUAL - Adaptive Capacity of medieval water management systems in Cambodia

October 4, 2021 @ 7:00 pm PDT Pacific Time

This is an online event.

AIA Society: San Joaquin Valley

Lecturer: Sarah Klassen

This talk assesses the relationship between elements of adaptive capacity of the water management systems of two medieval Khmer cities. The first archaeological case-study, Angkor, was the center of the Khmer Empire for over 600 years (9th-15th centuries CE). During this time, the Khmers developed one of the largest and most complex water management systems in the pre-industrial world. In contrast, the second case-study, Koh Ker, was capital for a relatively short time (16 years). The timescales of these two cities provide a comparative context for studying resilience, while Angkor thrived for centuries, Koh Ker was occupied for a relatively short period of time. In this talk, I use geographic information system analyses to quantitatively and qualitatively assess six elements of adaptive capacity (the amount of water harnessed by the system, investments in infrastructure, human capital, redundancy, equal distribution of resources, and innovation) for six time periods. The relationships and trade-offs among the six elements shed light on agricultural production at Angkor and Koh Ker as well as general theory on what elements contribute to the resilience of water management systems.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Evans, D. & Klassen, S. (2020). Water Management and Settlement Structure at Koh Ker. The International Magazine of Arts and Antiques of Southeast Asia. 1 (1).

R.J. Fletcher, B. M. Buckley, C. Pottier, S. Y. S. Wang, Fourteenth to sixteenth centuries AD: The case of Angkor and Monsoon Extremes in Mainland Southeast Asia, in Megadrought and Collapse: From Early Agriculture to Angkor(Oxford Univ. Press, 2017), pp. 275–314

B.M.Buckley et al. Climate as a contributing factor in the demise of Angkor, Cambodia. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107, 6748–6752 (2010)

Meeting ID: 970 5183 7471
Passcode: 966157
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October 4, 2021
7:00 pm PDT
Event Categories:
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John Pryor


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