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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Building Angkor Wat
12 October 2012 1:02 pm
Scientists have long known that the sandstone blocks used to build the famous Angkor Wat temple and other monuments in the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor came from quarries at the foot of a sacred mountain nearby. But how did the 5 million to 10 million blocks, some weighing more than 1500 kilograms, reach Angkor? Researchers report in a paper in press at the Journal of Archaeological Science that when they examined Google Earth maps of the area, they saw lines that looked like a transportation network. Field surveys revealed that the lines are a series of canals, connected by short stretches of road and river, that lead from the quarries straight to Angkor. The roads and canals—some of which still hold water—would've carried blocks from the 9th century to the 13th century on a total journey of 37 kilometers or so. The researchers don't know whether the blocks would've floated down the canals on rafts or via some other method. Scholars had previously assumed that the blocks were floated down a canal to the Tonle Sap Lake and then upstream on the Siem Reap River, a route of 90 kilometers. The newly reported canal network would've taken many months and thousands of laborers to construct, but it would have been all in a day's work for Khmer engineers, whose elaborate reservoirs and other hydraulic works at Angkor still inspire awe.
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