Water Element in the Champasak Cultural Landscape

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Lassamon Maitreemit


In Southeast Asia, water is a crucial landscape element that signifies the evolving relationship between human culture and the surrounding environment. This paper will examine both ancient Khmer and more recent Laotian approaches to the design of water features, and functions within UNESCO World Heritage Site, “Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape” in order to illustrate each culture’s relationship to their natural environment and their influence on the development of the Champasak Cultural Landscape over time. Using a landscape archaeology framework, the site’s narrative and visual representations will be collected through field research and document study. The research concludes that Khmers’ and Laotians’ in-depth hydrological knowledge are each evident through their respective technologies for surface water management (e.g., landscape construction versus site selection) and cultural practices (e.g., rituals and ceremonies to manage water element usage).


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Maitreemit, L. (2020). Water Element in the Champasak Cultural Landscape. Landscape Architecture Journal, 2(1), 91–109. Retrieved from https://so01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/LAJ/article/view/255309


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