This thesis develops and evaluates the utility of an operational approach to the archaeological study of transport in empires, focussed specifically on the remains of the transport system built by the Khmer Empire (9th to 15th centuries CE) that radiated out from the capital of Angkor to its provincial centres across mainland Southeast Asia. Previous research on the Angkorian transportation system has focussed on culture historical approaches while interpretations of the systemic construction and function are largely linked to one ruler, Jayavarman VII (1181-1219 CE), through a single inscription. The operational approach used in this thesis is derived from an integration of several theoretical and methodological perspectives: 1) Transport Geography theory (i.e., nodes, links, cultural function); 2) historical examples of transport components (i.e., rest stops, roads) and the ‘life-cycle’ concepts that characterize them (i.e., planning, seasonality,); 3) the range of methods that archaeologists use to locate, describe and analyse artefacts of transportation; and 4) identification of the general imperial requirements of transportation (i.e., shifting boundaries, control over resources). A comprehensive investigation of the spatial, temporal and functional aspects of the Angkorian transport system identifies a general plurality of development and function. Results of this study show: 1) there is no single unified transport plan; 2) the transport components, including the routes over which the roads were formalized, were the product of developments between the 11th to 13th centuries CE; and 3) site and resource location indicate that the land- and riverine-based transport systems served different yet complementary functions. From this study new directions for research are identified emphasizing the role of transportation at various scales and in various aspects of Angkorian society. The operational approach is viewed as a vital step in connecting the diverse requirements and activities of empires within an integrated and methodologically-rigorous framework.