Research Report

Research Report 8: Crossing Boundaries – Learning from the Past to Build the Future

An Archaeological Collaboration between Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

This working paper investigates the archaeological vestiges of the Champa and Angkorian civilizations that remain in northeast Cambodia, southern Laos and central Vietnam, tracing the interconnections between these two important Southeast Asian civilizations.  The author proposes that interactions between these two empires greatly affected their development and decline, and that while interest has previously focused on the sea-routes that existed between Champa (on the Vietnamese coast) and Angkor (around Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia), this research explores the little researched overland routes that existed between the
two empires.  

Previous explorations have disclosed that these civilizations were connected by an infrastructure that included rivers, portages, paths, and towns and villages, all located at important transportation nodes. Even though these routes wound over and through the mountains of the Annam Cordillera in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, they were navigable throughout the year. The research described here tracks, both archaeologically and ethnographically, the remains of these routes.

The aim of this research work is to make a practical contribution to the promotion of cultural and tourist exchange, as well as help preserve and develop the archaeological relics described here plus the ethnic minority cultures to be found in the study area – all within the current context of the implementation of the East West Economic Corridor Project (EWEC), as sponsored by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Publication date : January 2013