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激光雷达揭开柬埔寨高棉古国的秘密

更新时间:2016-9-22 10:38:03 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Laser Scans Unveil a Network of Ancient Cities in Cambodia
激光雷达揭开柬埔寨高棉古国的秘密

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA — For decades, archaeologists here kept their eyes on the ground as they tramped through thick jungle, rice paddies and buffalo grazing fields, emerald green and soft with mud during the monsoon season.

柬埔寨暹粒——几十年来,考古学家们在茂密的丛林中跋涉,双眼一直盯着地面走过稻田与放牧水牛的草地,雨季到来时,这里一片碧绿,满地的泥泞。

They spent entire careers trying to spot mounds or depressions in the earth that would allow them to map even small parts of Angkor, the urban center at the heart of the Khmer empire, which covered a vast region of what is now Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos from roughly 802 to 1431. In modern times, little material evidence existed beyond a network of monumental stone temples, including the famed Angkor Wat, and the sprawling settlements that presumably fanned out around the temples long since swallowed up by the jungle.

他们把整个职业生涯都用来定位土丘或是土坑,以便为吴哥古迹绘制地图,然而他们所绘出的只是其中的一小部分。吴哥曾是一片城市中心,位于高棉王国的心脏地带,802年到1431年前后,高棉王国曾拥有今天的柬埔寨、泰国、越南和老挝的大片土地。到了今天,高棉王国已经没有太多物证留下,只有一些高大的石头寺院,包括著名的吴哥窟,以及这片杂乱的定居点遗址,它可能从很早以前就围绕着那些寺院,之后渐渐被丛林吞噬。

But this year, the archaeologists Shaun Mackey and Kong Leaksmy were armed with a portable GPS device containing data from an aerial survey of the area that is changing the way Angkor is studied. The device led them straight to a field littered with clods of earth and shot through with tractor marks. It looked to the naked eye like an ordinary patch of dirt, but the aerial data had identified it as a site of interest, a mounded embankment where the ancestors of today’s Cambodians might have altered the landscape to build homes.

但在今年,考古学家肖恩·麦基(Shaun Mackey)与贡·里克斯米(Kong Leaksmy)配备了手提GPS设备,里面存储了这一带的空中勘测资料,一举改变了对吴哥古迹的研究方式。这种设备可以直接把他们引向一片满是土块和拖拉机痕迹的田地。肉眼看上去,这里只是一片普普通通的土地,但是空中勘测数据显示它是一处有价值的地点,是一处隆起的堤坝,柬埔寨人的祖先或许曾在这里改变地貌,建造家园。

Almost immediately after stepping onto the field, Mackey, his eyes glued to the ground, pounced on a shard of celadon pottery. Soon the team had turned up a small trove of potsherds and began taking copious notes.

一走进这片田地,牢牢盯住地面的麦基一眼就看见了一块灰绿色的陶片。没过多久,这个团队就发现了一小批陶片,并且做了大量笔记。

“It’s not sexy, like a temple, but for an archaeologist it’s really interesting that we have this representation of cultural activity,” he said. He and Kong Leaksmy are part of a consortium of scholars called the Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative, or CALI, which uses a technology known as lidar to shoot ultraquick pulses of light at the ground from lasers mounted on helicopters. The way they bounce back can show the presence of subtle gradations in the landscape, indicating places where past civilizations altered their environment, even if buried beneath thick vegetation or other obstructions.

“这不像寺院那么迷人,但是对于考古学家来说,这些文化活动的象征真的非常有趣,”他说。他和贡·里克斯米隶属于一个名为柬埔寨考古光学雷达行动(Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative)的学者团,简称CALI,他们使用一种名叫光学雷达的技术,用直升机上搭载的激光器向地面发射极快的激光脉冲。它们反射回来的方式可以显示地面的细微变化,指示古代文明曾经改变过地表环境的地点,就算被厚厚的植被或其他障碍物所掩盖也能勘测出来。

The soft-spoken, fedora-clad Mackey, a 14-year veteran of fieldwork here, noted that before lidar’s availability, an accurate ground survey of archaeological features in the Cambodian landscape entailed years or even decades of work.

麦基说话轻声细语,戴着一顶软呢帽,他在这里做现场勘测已经有14年了,他指出,在光学雷达投入应用之前,对柬埔寨的考古特征进行精确地面勘测需要花费几年,甚至数十年的工作。

“We had hit a roadblock in terms of technology until recently,” said Damian Evans, the archaeologist who heads the initiative. “The vegetation was obscuring these parts of Angkor and other monumental sites. The lidar allowed us to see through the vegetation.”

“我们遇到了技术方面的障碍,不久前才解决,”该行动的领导者达米安·伊文思(Damian Evans)说。“植被淹没了吴哥古迹的这些部分,以及其他重要遗迹。光学雷达技术可以帮助我们透过植被看清地貌。”

The Secrets of an Empire

帝国的秘密

The result, Evans said, has been an unprecedented new understanding of what the Khmer empire looked like at the apex of its power, with lidar-generated maps revealing an intricate urban landscape stretching across several provinces of modern-day Cambodia, along with a sophisticated network of canals, earthworks and dams the Angkorians used to control the flow of water.

伊文思说,勘测结果让他们对高棉王国在巅峰时期的面貌有了前所未有的了解,光学雷达绘制的地图显示出一片复杂的城市景观,贯穿如今柬埔寨的数个省份,伴随着一个由运河、土垒以及吴哥人用来控制水流的水坝所构成的复杂网络。

“It is pretty amazing,” he said. “The larger the temples are, the larger the urban infrastructure around it is likely to be, so they weren’t lost, in the sense that we assumed that they must be there. But, of course, that is an entirely different thing from being able to see it in incredible detail and how it works and how it functioned, how it evolved, the morphology of these places.”

“非常惊人,”他说。“寺庙越大,围绕它的城市基础设施似乎也就越大,所以它们并未失落,从这方面来说,我们假定它们肯定就在那儿。但是,当然,这和真正能够看到它们的各种细节、它们怎样发挥作用,它们的功能是什么,如何演变,乃至这些地方的整个形态又是完全不同的一回事。”

The group is using the maps to make more targeted excursions into the field, “ground-truthing” the lidar data to ensure that it is accurate and to determine where digging might be useful. On a recent mission, Mackey barreled down a freshly paved road in a pickup truck driven by Kong Leaksmy.

该小组使用这些地图到实地进行更有目的性的勘察,光学雷达数据提供的“地表真相”确保他们的方向是准确的,也可以帮助他们决定在哪里发掘更有用。在一项近期的任务中,贡·里克斯米开着一辆皮卡,载着麦凯飞驰在一条新铺成的路上。

Although the Khmer empire’s great stone monuments have endured for centuries, spawning a $60-million-a-year tourism industry and preserving information about the dynasty of god-kings who ordered their construction, the stuff of everyday life at Angkor, made from wood, mud, thatch and brick, has long since rotted away in the hot and humid climate. Almost nothing has been known about the lives of those who built the temples and served its rulers — who they were, how they lived, what they believed.

高棉王国伟大的石头遗迹经历了几个世纪的时光,每年给旅游业带来6000万美元的收入,它们记载着王朝的“神王”们的信息,是他们下令建造这些建筑;吴哥遗址则是以木头、泥土、茅草和砖石建成,里面的日常生活物品早已在酷热潮湿的环境下腐朽。我们对于建造了这些庙宇、服伺庙宇统治者的人,几乎一无所知——不知道他们是谁,他们怎样生活,他们信仰什么。

David Chandler, a professor emeritus at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a leading historian of Cambodia, said the new lidar data was particularly exciting because it was providing more information than ever about how ordinary people lived in the Khmer empire.

澳大利亚墨尔本莫纳什大学荣退教授、柬埔寨史顶尖学者大卫·钱德勒(David Chandler)说,新的光学雷达数据非常令人兴奋,因为与以往相比,它提供了更多关于高棉王国普通人的信息。

“People imagined it was a city, but they didn’t know how to imagine it, because they didn’t know what it looked like, Chandler said. “Now they do.”

“人们想像那是一座城市,但他们不知道该怎么去想像,因为他们不知道它看上去到底是什么样,”钱德勒说。“现在他们知道了。”

“This is where Angkorian research is going to go from now on: research into the people who built the temples, not the people whom it was built for,” he added. “It’s putting the population of the city back in view.”

“吴哥古迹研究今后将从这里起步:研究那些建造庙宇的人,而不是研究庙宇所纪念的那些人,”他补充道。“研究将把城市的居民重新带回视野。”

Being able to see the true scope of the city has led to discoveries in other areas, too. Lidar has helped find the giant quarry field where most of the sandstone to build the temples was taken from, and has identified mysterious earthen spirals close to Angkor Wat and a few other temples that might have served aesthetic or religious purposes.

能够看到城市的真实范围之后,其他的领域也有所发现。光学雷达还帮助人们找到了一个巨大的采石场,大多数用来建造庙宇的砂岩都是从这里开采的,光学雷达还在吴哥窟附近发现了土地上一些神秘的螺旋,以及若干可能是为不同美学或宗教目的服务的庙宇。

At a remote but massive temple called Preah Khan of Kompong Svay, which Khmer King Jayavarman VII used as a base to raise an army against invaders from the east, scholars had worked for more than a decade to determine what lay below the surface, with little success. They ultimately concluded that the area was not thickly settled. But the lidar data revealed a dense cityscape that even included the same spirals seen at Angkor Wat, and helped pinpoint areas for archaeologists to dig that had not been looted.

有一处偏远的巨大庙宇名叫孔蓬思维圣剑寺(Preah Khan of Kompong Svay),高棉王国的阇耶跋摩七世(Khmer King Jayavarman VII)曾在这里组建军队,抵抗从东而来的侵略者,学者们研究了十几年,想判定地表之下究竟埋藏了什么,但一直没有什么成果。最终,他们确定这个地方没有密集的古迹。但是光学雷达发现了一片密集的城市景观,甚至有和吴哥窟附近一样的螺旋,它协助考古学家们定位出精确区域,以便发掘遗迹中尚未被劫掠的部分。

In other cases, what lidar has not found is just as revealing. At the temple Banteay Chhmar, on the Thai border, archaeologists had also struggled to find evidence of settlement. The lidar data confirmed this, leading Evans to conclude that it was not the center of a city but perhaps a temple or a garrison that saw only waves of temporary settlement.

在其他例子中,光学雷达虽然没有发现什么东西,但结果同样有意义。在位于柬埔寨与泰国边境的卜迭色玛寺(Banteay Chhmar),考古学家们也曾努力寻找居民定居点的证据而无果。光学雷达数据肯定了这一点,令伊文思得出结论,这里不是城市的中心,或许是一座庙宇,又或是曾有过一支驻军,只经历了几波临时定居。

Perhaps most crucially, the long-held narrative of the collapse of Angkor is being recast by lidar evidence. Based on stone inscriptions in the temples, scholars have long believed the empire fell in 1431 after its capital was sacked by an invading Thai army, and the population of the city moved closer to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s current capital.

或许更加重要的是,关于吴哥的衰败,长期以来的叙事将被光学雷达数据所改写。根据寺院中的石碑铭文,学者们一直以来认为,1431年,高棉王国的首都被一支入侵的泰国军队洗劫之后,王国也随之陷落,城市居民朝着柬埔寨现在的首都金边方向迁移。

But when these areas were scanned, there was no evidence of an influx of refugees. This suggests that while there might have been a political schism in 1431 that induced members of the royal family to move closer to Phnom Penh, the vast majority of people stayed near Angkor and only gradually moved away.

但是这些地区的扫描结果没有显示出难民潮的迹象。这表明,1431年,有可能是政治分裂导致若干王室成员搬到金边附近,大多数民众仍然留在吴哥附近,后来才渐渐搬迁过去。

This understanding is unfolding day by day as the research continues. At Site 305, for example, Mackey and Kong Leaksmy uncovered bits of water jars, showing that the area included households, and shards of blue-and-white Chinese tradeware dating from after the 1400s.

随着研究的继续,人们的认识也在日复一日随之发展。比如,在305号遗址,麦肯和贡·里克斯米发现了水罐的碎片,表明这个地区曾经有过居民,那些蓝白色的碎片是来自中国的商品,年代可以追溯到15世纪之后。

“This helps feed into the concept that Angkor wasn’t really abandoned,” Mackey said.

“这有助于确立这样的观念,吴哥并没有被真正放弃,”麦肯说。

“When myth becomes such entrenched history, archaeology is a way of challenging the written record, particularly because history is often written by the powerful who give voice to their own agendas,” he said. “But the material remains.”

“当神话变成如此根深蒂固的历史,考古学就成了一种挑战书面记录的方法,特别是因为历史通常是由掌握权力的人书写,他们只为了自己的政治目的发出声音,”他说,“但是实物材料依然保存下来了。”

To Kong Leaksmy, a recent university graduate who used lidar data to write her thesis on a small temple called Banteay Sra, the takeaway was simpler.

贡·里克斯米是一个刚从大学毕业的学生,她使用光学雷达来写论文,内容是一座名叫Banteay Sra的小寺院,对于她来说,它的益处就更简单了。

“I can see many, many points that I cannot see just by eye,” she said of the new tool. “It’s amazing for me.”

 “我能看到很多很多肉眼看不到的东西,”她这样评价自己的新工具。“我觉得太好了。”

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