I grew up very close to a deep stretch of woodland, and the thought of the unknown secrets it contained used to scare the bejeezus out of me. For example, on warm summer nights it was not uncommon to hear the shrill screams of rabbits being mauled by foxes. As if the sound of bunny death wasn’t enough to scar me for life, there was a time when I was exploring the woods (in broad daylight, with my father there for protection) and found the half-eaten head of one of the evil foxes – meaning there was something out there that was even higher on the food chain. As someone who lacked basic outdoor survival skills (f*ck the boy scouts, I was too cool for that), I was understandably terrified.
However, not everything you discover in the deepest, darkest recesses of the forest will haunt your nightmares. Case in point: Australian scientist dudes using airborne laser technology have just uncovered a network of roadways and canals around Cambodia’s ancient Angkor Wat temple complex, revealing signs of civilization that have been hidden by overgrowth for centuries. What’s more, these pathways could be evidence of an as-yet-to-be-discovered lost city:
Archaeologists had long suspected that the city of Mahendraparvata lay hidden beneath a canopy of dense vegetation atop Phnom Kulen mountain in Siem Reap province. But the airborne lasers produced the first detailed map of a vast cityscape, including highways and previously undiscovered temples.
“No one had ever mapped the city in any kind of detail before, and so it was a real revelation to see the city revealed in such clarity,” University of Sydney archaeologist Damian Evans, the study’s lead author, said by phone from Cambodia. “It’s really remarkable to see these traces of human activity still inscribed into the forest floor many, many centuries after the city ceased to function and was overgrown.”
Of course, no one has pictures of these roadways and canals because 1) they’re still completely overgrown and 2) that would be too much to ask from greedy scientists who need to preserve their images for “research.” But now you know that such wonders exist, and that sparkly fairies probably live there instead of hulking wood beasts who can eat a fox in one bite.