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Archaeology & History

Hidden paintings discovered at Angkor Wat

By T.K. Randall
May 30, 2014 · Comment icon 14 comments



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."

Source: Fox News | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Welsh Shaun 9 years ago
I would love to see the images too
Comment icon #6 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
I have always wanted to go there. Fascinating place. Was there about three years ago, amazing place, as are the other ruins and temples in the area. The scale of Angkor Wat is mind boggling. They said that in building ever larger temples, it finally bankrupted the civilization that built them, and I can believe it.
Comment icon #7 Posted by toast 9 years ago
where are the images? or are we just talking about them and not actually going to get to see them? http://www.livescience.com/45904-photos-secret-paintings-of-angkor-wat.html
Comment icon #8 Posted by JGirl 9 years ago
http://www.livescien...angkor-wat.html this is it?really? lol secret paintings huh? ok
Comment icon #9 Posted by Kenemet 9 years ago
To answer the question about the images, they were erased by rain and humidity and plants and bacteria (and possibly by conservation efforts as well.) They seem to be more graffiti (according to the article.) The fading is similar to what happens to Native American rock art (pictographs.)
Comment icon #10 Posted by calaf 9 years ago
where are the images? or are we just talking about them and not actually going to get to see them? Pardon, but you do realize where you are.
Comment icon #11 Posted by ancient astronaut 9 years ago
Was there about three years ago, amazing place, as are the other ruins and temples in the area. The scale of Angkor Wat is mind boggling. They said that in building ever larger temples, it finally bankrupted the civilization that built them, and I can believe it. Is it as massive as it looks? It is definitely a(n) engineering marvel.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
Is it as massive as it looks? It is definitely a(n) engineering marvel. Absolutely! It has a gigantic moat around it that you would need a boat to cross, then a huge open area of lawn with a few trees and palms, and locals selling various items. Then there is a long causeway with the many headed cobra god carved in stone on either side. The temple itself is rather confusing, there are many passages and odd rooms, some of which don't make since with no points of reference or knowledge of the history. There are still large Buddhas inside and monks in orange robes decorating them, burning incense... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by JGirl 9 years ago
Pardon, but you do realize where you are. thanks for giving my head a shake there man lol
Comment icon #14 Posted by ancient astronaut 9 years ago
Absolutely! It has a gigantic moat around it that you would need a boat to cross, then a huge open area of lawn with a few trees and palms, and locals selling various items. Then there is a long causeway with the many headed cobra god carved in stone on either side. The temple itself is rather confusing, there are many passages and odd rooms, some of which don't make since with no points of reference or knowledge of the history. There are still large Buddhas inside and monks in orange robes decorating them, burning incense, etc. There are lots of kids running around trying to sell you hand pai... [More]


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