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Ancient pottery kiln unearthed at Angkor

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Archaeologists say the kiln has features never seen before. ANA

Ancient pottery kiln unearthed at Angkor

Archaeologists with the Apsara National Authority (ANA) have unearthed what appears to be an Angkor-era pottery kiln located north of Dey Chhnang gate of Angkor Thom.

According to ANA’s Facebook page on November 27, the kiln was excavated in Siem Reap’s Kokchak commune north of Dey Chhnang gate of Angkor Thom.

Tin Tina, deputy director of the Angkor International Document Centre and the excavation team leader, said the excavation was launched to learn if ancient pottery was produced at the hillside site. In the past, researchers had discovered many shards of pottery scattered around the hill.

“Until now, there has been no excavation or research to confirm that the location is an ancient pottery kiln. Because of the scattered pottery and burned clay pieces that remain on the hill even today, some researchers agreed that it was highly probable that there had once been an ancient kiln there,” he added.

Tina said the research plan for the area would end on December 10. The excavation team said they had discovered kiln walls and many pieces of pottery, mostly items such as tiles, stoves and other common earthenware.

“After excavation, we will ask permission to conduct research in this area by listing an inventory of the site and designating it as a protected site for tourists to visit and researchers to study,” he said.

Vito Phirum, an ANA archaeologist, said the team of experts paid close attention to excavation techniques to reduce the risk of damaging the ancient structures and artefacts. The team had divided the excavation to easily collect data and photograph the structure.

“The structure of this kiln pattern is very special because its shape and pattern are different from most of kilns in the Angkor area, which are much larger. As far as the objects found here, we do not know exactly where they came from,” he added.

Chhay Rachana, director of the office of pottery research at the International Centre for Research and Documentation of Angkor, said the team did not yet know the full shape of the kiln and could only see small, round walls and a fire place with a diameter of 3sqm. This kiln has unique features that had never been seen before,” Rachana said.

“According to the tile pieces, we can assume that this kiln might be from the Post-Angkor period because this type of tile was rarely used in the Angkor era. According to residents’ memories, it might be related to the local name for the gate, which is Dey Chhnang Gate, or Pottery Ground Gate, because it had many kilns for producing pots,” he added.

The ANA also announced the complete renovation of a Buddha statue at Ruot Bakan, near the top of Angkor Wat temple. The statue had been repaired to fix its deteriorated condition and cracks in its legs that were unable to support its weight.

Soy Sophearin, sculpture conservation officer at the Department of Temple Preservation and Preventive Archaeology in Angkor Park, said the statue of Buddha also had some problems with its head, face and lower legs.

According to Sophearin, conservation teams regularly monitored the damage and were able to fix it in time to prevent serious harm to the statue.

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