Bringing medieval Angkor to life

Exploring the historical recreation of an ancient metropolis through virtual simulations

Since 2014, a SensiLab team has been researching and crafting a dynamic simulation that draws upon recent archaeological discoveries to visualise how the Angkor Wat complex might have operated almost a millennium ago. As well as creating a comprehensive virtual reconstruction the research allows an immersive analytic study of the complex, where the paths of thousands of animated ‘agents’ are tracked as they enter, exit and circulate within the temple enclosure.

The comprehensive virtual world draws upon data from a wide array of sources, from archaeological surveys through to historical accounts, photographic archives, textile studies and botanical references. The 3D models generated make up a library that can be used to visualise hypothetical reconstructions of the past that augment and illuminate information from historical texts and archaeological surveys.

Such visualisations establish an iterative dialogue between 3D animators, archaeologists, and historians to test how assumptions about Angkor can be made more precise. As new information is gathered, the project is refined to become increasingly more accurate.

Simulating 24 hours at Angkor Wat in the 12th Century
Visualising hypothetical reconstructions of the past
One aim of the project is an immersive analytic study of the complex interactions between different social groups
The entrance to Angkor Wat temple

Project members

Tom Chandler
Brent McKee
Chandara Ung
Elliott Wilson
Mike Yeates



digital exhibition at Monash’s Hargrave-Andrew Library