Angkor Wat, located in northwestern Cambodia, was the main temple at the capital of the Khmer Empire that held power from the 9th to 15th centuries before declining in the 16th century. As a landlocked civilization in southeastern Asia, Angkor was susceptible to annual monsoons that resulted in distinct wet and dry seasons. To accommodate their climate, the people that occupied Angkor constructed an extensive network of water management infrastructure to divert large quantities of water for agriculture as well as store fresh water for the dry seasons. In this paper I will examine how large-scale climatic variations resulting in long periods of drought and flooding impacted the Angkorian people and their civilization. I use geological and archaeological data, as well as iconographic evidence and specific features found at and around the temple of Angkor Wat to analyze the ways in which the people of Angkor both revered and feared water as a force of nature, as well as the lasting impacts on the Khmer Empire due to challenges they faced from environmental changes.


Navarro-Farr, Olivia

Second Advisor

Alley, Karen


Archaeology; Earth Sciences


Archaeological Anthropology | Earth Sciences | Geology


Angkor Wat, Cambodia, water, climate change, environment, flooding, drought, archaeology, earth science, social dynamics, environmental dynamics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2019 Melissa Dods