Two stones with Angkor-era inscriptions were received by the Heritage Police Unit at Banteay Chhmar Temple in a ceremony yesterday after local residents handed over the valuable relics.
Two farmers in Banteay Meanchey province had separately stumbled upon the unusual stones while farming a few months ago and had kept the precious relics at their house, guessing the value but not being certain they had found genuine artefacts, heritage police deputy Svay Vannak said.
“Two stone inscriptions are most valuable from our ancestor in the Angkor period,” Vannak said. “But the resident does not know. It is the best art style of the era. It is like the art style in Banteay Srey temple,” he said.
Officials from the ministry of culture, the provincial museum and curious locals joined the handover ceremony.
The stones are between 80 and 150 centimetres tall and roughly 40 centimetres across.
The villagers had hidden their find from the authorities, but once heritage police explained the importance of the object to them, they gladly handed them over, Thmar Puok district’s Kbal Damrie village chief Sou Seun said.
“They were afraid to file to the authority in case they were accused.
“But I persuaded them by saying that if they offered the stones to authority, they will get a reward – if in fact, they did not damage it,” Seun said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at [email protected]