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Artefacts unearthed at Bayon temple

Archaeologists from Cambodia and Japan have recovered an assortment of nearly 1,000 items.

Siem Reap Province
CAMBODIAN and Japanese archaeologists have since January unearthed about 1,000 artefacts buried beneath Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, according to a report released Tuesday during a conference concerning conservation efforts in the Angkor Wat temple complex.

The findings include pieces of gold, hardware, tools and religious relics, according to the report, released as part of the 19th Technical Committee meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor, which concludes today.

Kou Vet, chief of the archaeological unit for Japan-Apsara Safeguarding Angkor, said in a statement that his team had also discovered ceramics thought to have been imported from Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.

“Because the excavation survey is still being conducted, our data is insufficient to draw the final conclusion” when it comes to each item’s age, he said, and added that the artefacts would be taken to Japan for further testing.

Heng Kamsan, deputy director of the Archaeology and Prehistory Department at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said Tuesday that the recent work at Bayon had been more fruitful than an excavation of the northern gallery conducted in 1994.

“At that time, we did not know whether our excavation techniques were good enough or if we had dug deep enough to find anything,” he said. The ongoing excavation work, he said, represents a “peak success”.

The creation of the ICC, co-chaired by France and Japan, was one of the conditions for the approval of Angkor Wat as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992.

Programming on Monday, the first day of the twice-yearly meeting, included a tour of Angkor Thom organised by the Apsara Authority designed to showcase the contributions of Cambodian architects and archaeologists.

The agenda for today includes presentations on efforts to advance sustainable development at the site.

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