As they were constructed using perishable materials Angkor and pre-Angkor period villages are largely invisible today and therefore often overlooked as important historical sites. Certain sites may today be represented by a simple tuol, or earthen mound, which would nonetheless contain domestic items and refuse as well as pottery fragments. Under rare conditions, postholes can be perceived indicating former structures. Despite appearances, temples were rarely constructed on their own in the middle of a field or forest and even remote, solitary structures seen today, indicate the presence of an ancient settlement or village.
Such sites were often constructed in a circular form, surrounded by palisades, and some may even be occupied today, with Puok near Siem Reap, often cited as an example of a continually inhabited, early circular settlement.