The Angkor Vihara Project of Canada’s University of Toronto is excavating an old temple in the Angkor Thom complex, some 200m east of the 12th-century Bayon, in collaboration with APSARA National Authority (ANA), according to the latter.

In a February 9 statement, ANA said the project is being carried out “to understand the role of structures and the role of the ancient platform of the terrace in the west next to the platform of the Buddhist temple”, determine their ages, and “find out about the evolution of Buddhism in the late Angkorian period”.

Citing Angkor Vihara Project director Andrew Harris, the statement noted that this is the third excavation project on the temple, and includes “a study on the role, function, and age of the other platform, which was separated from the ancient Buddhist temple construction, and in particular, to understand the use of the construction of the temple with the community.

“Harris explained the findings, such as the discovery of fragment tiles on the terrace platform, which proved that there was a tiled wooden structure, in addition to pieces of Khmer and Chinese ceramics, which are evidence of use during the Angkorian period. The team also encountered evidence of the use of post-Angkorian ceramics – 16th to 17th centuries – in layers near this site.

“In addition, they also found traces of water flowing in and out of a large pond nearby in front of the structure.

“According to previous research, it was estimated that the number of Buddhist temples on the walls of Angkor Thom was between 62 and 72.

“But until now, there was little research on the mounds of those temples and it was a new topic for national and international research teams to work together to better understand the society of the Khmer ancestors in the capital of Angkor in the late Angkor and post-Angkor period,” it added.