During a recent excavation, the Heritage Protection Police, in collaboration with the APSARA National Authority (ANA), unearthed the head of a statue of a deity at the historical site of Angkor Thom Temple. 

The discovery occurred on May 8, approximately 100m from the southeast side of the Victory Gate, near the 23rd of the large deity statues which are located there.

Long Kosal, the spokesperson for the APSARA Authority, said excavation efforts are ongoing.

“The discovery of the head is just the beginning of our work here. We are eager to continue and hopeful to reclaim more of our lost heritage," he told The Post.

The recovered artefact, including the fragile parts of the mouth and nose, was immediately passed to Chhouk Somala, a Heritage Registration Officer. 

It is now temporarily housed at the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum for further examination and conservation.

This discovery follows closely on the heels of several other notable findings in the region. 

In April, archaeologists at Bayon Temple uncovered a rare sandstone turtle sculpture, measuring 57 cm in length, 43 cm in width and 21 cm in depth. 

The discovery challenges previous assumptions about the temple’s layout and suggests the existence of historical ponds on its eastern side. 

Such findings not only enrich our understanding of Bayon Temple, famed for its elaborate carvings and historical significance, but also the broader historical narrative of King Jayavarman VII’s reign in the 12th century.

In addition, at Ta Prohm Temple, the ANA recently unearthed over 100 sandstone sculptures just beneath the surface of the ground, including pieces resembling seated and standing Buddhas and Nagas, likely from the Bayon style of the late 12th or early 13th century. 

Initially part of routine soil removal, this excavation expanded significantly once the cultural value of the artefacts was recognised.