A team of archaeologists have identified two ancient artillery pieces discovered in the Memot district of Kampong Cham province as post-Angkorean iron cannons.
The experts, who first examined the cannons on December 29, called them “the biggest discovery in Memot”.
“I’m excited about this discovery,” Thlang Sakhoeun, deputy director of archaeology and pre-history at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said.
“It could be a gift for Cambodia [for the] new year. Especially for an archaeologist.”
The discovery of the cannons was “very important for Cambodian history,” Thuy Chanthuon, deputy director of the Institute of Culture and Fine Arts in the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said. “It shows evidence of [an early] iron industry in northern Cambodia.”
Part of the evidence for iron production came from the ancient Khmer text found inscribed on one of the cannons. It is still unknown what the text says, as ancient Khmer is difficult to read.
“[It] shows that ancient Cambodians could make guns by themselves,” Thlang Sakhoeun said.
“Moreover, the Khmer people could make guns similar to the guns that were exported by Portugal.”
The larger cannon is 1.36m long and weighs 39kg. The smaller one is 1.06m long and weighs 29.5kg.
The guns, discovered in early December by a potato farmer ploughing his field, are slated for transport to Phnom Penh for further study.
Thai Noreak Sathya, secretary of state for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Art, said the guns should be preserved at the provincial hall or the National Museum.