Sotr Nikum district administration and the Apsara National Authority (ANA) have continued to raise awareness and educate people to preserve the historical site of Prek Sramoch Dam – also known as Sampov Road – due to fears of damage to the structure.
Damage could result in the loss of a historical site from Angkorian times as well as affect the national heritage.
ANA spokesman and Department of Communication director Long Kosal said that authorities have advised residents not to take soil from the dam because it would result in the loss of a historically important place. However, authorities prefer to use education rather than the law to solve this problem.
Long Kosal said: “We want people to take soil from elsewhere because this is an ancient site and a place built by our Khmer ancestors, which is valuable. And, it must be protected because it represents a civilization and a prosperous period of the people from that time,” he said.
According to Kosal, the dam was built at the bottom of Kulen Mountain with a water course that used to connect it to the Tonle Sap Lake. ANA officials on March 4 went to the dam to raise awareness because some people in the area who make bricks sometimes take soil from the top of the dam.
Kosal asked brick and tile businesses to take soil from elsewhere to avoid damage and loss to the historical place. During ancient times, the dam played an important role. In addition to providing water for agriculture in the surrounding communities, the connecting waterway was used to transport stone from Kulen Mountain to the Angkor area and for trade as well.
Sotr Nikum district governor Mok Bros said that there are more than 50 small traditional brick kilns in the area. However, he did not specify how many families were there.
Mok Bros has confirmed that authorities continue to raise awareness so people understand and pay attention to preserving this archaeological site.
“Further action must be taken. We must strengthen the local authority with a support office and patrols set up. We will continue to raise awareness concerning the relevant regulations. However, large-scale brick kilns are not affected. It was mostly those people around the lake and dam. Sometimes they use their bare hands or tools to dig, but we are not sure. But if a tractor is used, we will stop it,” he said.