In 1066, England was invaded from France by Normans under the leadership of William the Conqueror. It was a critical turning point in our nation's history. Even today, that year - 1066 is etched in England's collective memory for it changed everything.
At that same time and unbeknown to those who participated in The Battle of Hastings, an amazing civilisation was thriving in south east Asia. In the middle of the Khmer Empire a huge city had grown. Some modern historians reckon that it may have had a population of around a million and it was the biggest city on the planet. It was all around the Angkor Wat temple complex in what we now call Cambodia.
In recent years, LIDAR ( Light Detection and Ranging) examination of that region has revealed evidence that the city was much bigger than had first been imagined. Of course physical evidence of wooden domestic buildings disappeared long ago for they simply rotted away.
Only the stone structures remain - mostly in ruins - and there are very many of them. Generally they are temples connected with the Hindu-Buddhist belief systems that the Khmers subscribed to.
I was lucky enough to visit the old city in the summer of 2011. I spent three full days there. Of course everybody knows about the main temple complex that appears on the modern day flag of Cambodia but around it, often still smothered in jungle greenery there are hundreds more temple sites and there are stone reservoirs, redundant water channels, streets and heaven knows what else.
It was quite breathtaking and so were the countless stone carvings I observed. It had all so clearly emerged from a civilisation that was supremely confident about its power, its beliefs and its longevity. They never expected that the Khmer Empire would one day follow the path of all other empires and fall.
Earlier today, I was looking back through the photos I snapped there back in 2011 and I have picked five of them to share with you. Please be warned that I might post some more tomorrow.