Every civilization when it loses its inner vision and its cleaner energy, falls into a new sort of sordidness; more vast and more stupendous than the savage old sort. An Augean stable of metallic filth.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), The Short Novels, vol. 2, 1956
The Cambodian city of Angkor is so old that it died half a century before Columbus stumbled onto the “New World.” It ruled the mighty Khmer Empire for more than twice as long as the United States has existed. Part of the reason for its power and long life was its location in one of the most resource-rich areas of Southeast Asia.
Experts long assumed the city was abandoned as a result of invasion, but archaeologists ...