In their focus on temples, however, the French archaeologists overlooked the surrounding land—and the people who had lived on that land. Historians have long puzzled over why Angkor, after flourishing for centuries, fell apart. Some EFEO scholars surmised that Angkor died out because its rulers ordered progressively more complicated temples, ultimately sapping the empire of resources.
In 1992, when United Nations peacekeepers arrived in Cambodia to oversee elections after decades of war, the EFEO transferred Christophe Pottier from Thailand to the old complex in Siem Reap. A roguish Frenchman, Pottier typified the classical colonial adventurer: a khaki-clad daredevil with an eternal five o'clock shadow and the tan born of decades spent in the tropics. The EFEO was still preoccupied with spectacular remodeling jobs, and Pottier, trained as an architect, was put to work restoring temples.
In his spare time, Pottier set out on motorcycle to record the sites he'd seen from the air. Equipped with an early GPS receiver, a camera, a notebook and an antique stereoscope—a viewfinder that functions like 3-D glasses, adding depth to a composite of bird's-eye images—he searched for evidence of occupation. When he found decaying laterite or brick walls, slight hills suggesting the mounds houses were built on, or pot fragments, he marked off sites on stereoscopic photos. Returning to his office, he laid tracing paper over the photos and meticulously copied out the points, later transferring them to a map.
At the time, the Khmer Rouge still hadn't fully relinquished power. During Pottier's first year in the field, the guerrillas kidnapped and murdered a British mine remover a few miles from his site. But Pottier canvassed Angkor with a stubborn fearlessness, surviving on a mixture of luck and armed escorts. In the end, he mapped 232 square miles of southern and central Angkor—the density of landmines in the north defied even his valor—and rounded out his architecture degree with an archaeology dissertation. The project took him six years.
In 1996, as Pottier was riding through the Cambodian hinterland, Roland Fletcher was spending his days in the libraries of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. A Cambridge-trained archaeologist, Fletcher was on leave from the University of Sydney to research a book on preindustrial cities. Looking at rough maps of Angkor one day, he noted a lopsided settlement plan that barely extended outside the city's collection of temples, leaving little room for fields and house mounds. "It was obvious that there was something wrong with the plan," he says.
The linga is a representation of the god Shiva.
Its is the form of an egg, not a phallus.
The egg represents the universe in its seedling stage before the 'Big Bang'.
If you had eyes you would appreciate this egg shape.
Note there is not stalk attached to it so there is no way you can see a phallus in it, unless you are a moron.
It is half-articulate fools like you that insult ancient cultures.
If you want to be worthy of the title of scientist, get the whole picture and present it, rather than fragments glued together incorrectly.
Aside from that the article is nice.
Meh. Much more interesting if it WERE a phallus. An EGG? How emasculating. Pshh... shancre is a vedic fanboy.
oh shancre oh shancre..u should have first confirmed b4 writing that comment...should have saved some embarrassments
Didn't they use something like this to locate the ancient temple underneath the antartctic ice, where the humans were lured by the Predators?
There are no "vedic fanboys" who pretend that the lingam is anything but a phallus. In fact, the representation of Shiva in iconic form is that of a phallus penetrating a yoni, aka vagina.
So much for eggs.
I think that particular pantheon has an imbalance in the arm to yoni ratio.
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Whatever the abstract meaning of the lingam in classical Indian texts, this is largely irrelevant here, where the salient issues are: 1) what the object meant to the people of the culture in question; and 2) how scholars of that culture interpret the meaning.
Almost all of the ancient Khmer would have been utterly unaware of the formal meanings of things in the Indian tradition, 'cosmic eggs' or otherwise. In the Khmer traditon, linga are frequently carved with decorations showing, in elaborate and unmistakable detail, the physical characteristics of the male penis. They do indeed have a shaft, and are never even remotely egg-shaped. The Khmer-language name for the Shaivite temples that house them is 'prasat leung', which literally means 'penis temple'. I could go on (or you could just google it). It is perfectly reasonable therefore for scholars to interpret them, on one level, as phallic symbols.
The article is therefore bang on correct, and the original poster, shancre, has demonstrated for us irrefutably the moronism of which he incorrectly and hilariously accuses the article's author and subject. Nice work!
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