Scholars usually place the Angkorean period of Cambodian history between 802 and 1431. In fact, these years mark neither a beginning nor an end. The northwestern part of Cambodia, where the state we know as Angkor (the name derives from the Sanskrit word nagara, meaning “city”) sprang up in the ninth century, had been inhabited by Khmer-speaking peoples for several hundred years. Moreover, although much of the city was abandoned in the fifteenth century, it remained an inhabited site and was restored as a royal city briefly in the 1570s. More important, one of its major temples, Angkor Wat (i.e., the city-temple), was probably never abandoned by the Khmer, for it contains Buddhist statuary from every century between the fifteenth and the nineteenth and inscriptions on its walls from as late as 1747. 1 When the Angkor complex was “discovered” by French missionaries and explorers in the 1850s, Angkor Wat contained a prosperous Buddhist monastery inside its walls, tended by several hundred hereditary slaves.