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Damian Evans is a Canadian-Australian researcher whose work focuses on archaeological landscapes in mainland Southeast Asia, in particular those of the Khmer Empire, which dominated the area for several hundred years from the ninth to fourteenth centuries AD. He specialises in using advanced remote sensing technologies such as airborne laser scanning (or “lidar”) to uncover, map and analyse the urban and agricultural networks that stretched between, and beyond, great temple complexes such as Angkor in Cambodia. Dr Evans was awarded an ERC Starting Grant (2015-2020) and left the University of Sydney, Australia, to join the French Institute of Asian Studies in Paris. His ERC-funded research involves undertaking the most ambitious program of archaeological lidar ever achieved in Asia; the initial data acquisition was completed in 2015 and will be followed by several years of work on the ground. The work has already begun to change our understanding of what early cities looked like in the region: how they emerged, how their inhabitants transformed the environments in which they lived, and the reasons for their eventual decline. This in turn has broader implications for our understanding of the resilience and sustainability of cities in the face of social and environmental change.

Photo: © D Evans