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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be