The temple of Angkor Wat. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Sam Garza
More than 200 pictures have been identified on the walls of the ancient temple using digital imaging.
Built in the early 12th century, the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the largest religious monument in the world.
With millions of visitors every year it might seem like everything that there is to see there would have already been found, but now researchers have managed to discover a whole new series of images on the building's walls that had remained hidden for centuries because they are invisible to the naked eye.
Using digital image enhancement techniques, rock art expert Noel Hidalgo Tan and his team have identified at least 200 paintings of elephants, deities, horses and more dating back hundreds of years. It is thought that some of the images may be graffiti left by pilgrims who abandoned the site in the 15th century while the more elaborate paintings could be from previous restoration attempts.
"Some of the most detailed paintings, the ones located at the top of the temple, are passed by literally thousands of visitors every day, but the most elaborate scenes are effectively invisible to the naked eye," said Tan.
"I didn't realize that the images would be so detailed, so I was naturally taken aback."
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