Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ancient hospital restored by ANA

Ancient hospital restored by ANA

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Located in Nokor Krau village, north of the Angkor Thom enclosure, the first phase of restoration was successfully completed in July last year. APSARA AUTHORITY

Ancient hospital restored by ANA

The Apsara National Authority (ANA) said the second phase of restoration is underway at Prasat Tonle Sgnuot – the ancient hospital built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century and early 13th century.

Located in Nokor Krau village, north of the Angkor Thom enclosure, the first phase of restoration was successfully completed in July last year.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the ANA said that in the first phase, experts conducted research, listed scattered stones, planned their assembly and removed loose stones from some parts of the temple’s roof and foundations.

The post said in the second phase this year, the working group will continue excavation and start repairing and reinforcing foundations.

It also aims to assemble the terrace stones in the temple body up to the 15th layer of the lintel, with the third and final phase of the project scheduled for next year.

“After [the ancient hospital] was studied and assessed architecturally, a working group decided that, given their findings and recommendations from Unesco experts, repairs needed to be prioritised immediately.

“The ANA senior leadership approved the move, and repairs to the roof and its foundations were carried out using a reconstruction technique called anastylosis.

Anastylosis is a process whereby a ruined building or monument is restored using the original architectural elements to the greatest degree possible.

Chea Sarith, the archaeologist at the Department of Conservation and Archaeological Preservation in Angkor Archaeological Park, who is also the project head for the Prasat Tonle Sgnuot restoration, said studies showed the ancient hospital faced collapse due to water impact, surrounding tree growth and ageing materials.

He said the building’s main body had weakened, causing it to tilt towards the western corner over 15 degrees, triggering varying structural damage.

“Holes can be found between 5cm and 45cm wide across the structure, while large parts of the stone walls and the roofs at the southeastern and north-western corners have eroded and fallen to the ground.

“To rebalance the structure, we had to reinforce the foundations, the terrace and the body of the building in compliance with technical standards and ancient materials,” he said.

Sarith added that based on the study, the working group had not removed all of the foundations completely, but just the necessary parts.

“The decaying stones were removed, and replaced with new good quality stones. We used wooden wedges to support and raise up old stones to ensure we fit new stones into the original patterns of the structure.

“The working group could not remove all the original stones completely to retain the level of the original height and the original locations of each stone.

“After preparing to assemble the stones from the first to the third layer and a series of layers to fit in the original patterns, the working group had to remove the stones up to the first layer and replace decayed sandstones with new stones according to the recommendations by Unesco experts,” he said.

Chea Socheat, another archaeologist at the Department of Conservation and Archaeological Preservation in Angkor Archaeological Park, said that the excavation of the ancient structure’s foundations was very useful in preparation for foundation repairs.

He said the study showed that Prasat Tonle Sgnuot was not built on natural land, but the original builders had fabricated the foundational land mass using a range of materials, some of which were biodegradable.

“The foundation pits were filled with layers of sand, clay, mountainous stones and tree roots. So, the main reason leading the building to sink was due to the decomposition of tree roots in the mixtures of dirt which made up the foundations,” he said.

The ANA said that after the first phase of excavation had been completed last year, the experts discovered the original foundations of the hospital.

Excavation showed that the hospital was around 31m long and more than 20m wide when originally built. However, large parts of the original walls had been lost over time.

He also said that during excavation they had spotted small broken porcelain pieces deep in the soil.


  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon