Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Archaeologists unearth some 100 undiscovered temples




Archaeologists unearth some 100 undiscovered temples

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Archaeologists unearth some 100 undiscovered temples. Supplied

Archaeologists unearth some 100 undiscovered temples

Cambodian archaeologists have unearthed the remnants of nearly 100 previously undiscovered temples dating from the 6th and 7th centuries in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period.

Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of the Institute of Arts and Culture of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the remnants of the temples had not been recorded in earlier Cambodian or French archaeological studies, including Inventaire descriptif des monuments du Cambodge by E Lunet de Lajonquiere from 1902-11.

They had also not been registered in the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ list of ancient temples.

“The French registered more than 10 temples in the northern Samphu Borak area, while the provincial department of culture discovered more than 50 others. I have found nearly 100 temples that have not been unearthed before. We will carry out further inspections and studies,” Chanthourn said.

He said the temples were constructed from sandstone and dedicated to the Brahmanism religion of early Hinduism.

Only the foundations remained of Trapaing Prey, the final Chenla-era temple in the Samphu Borak area discovered by Chanthourn.

He said his team will use the global positioning system (GPS) to carry out in-depth research into the temples and record and preserve them as areas of important historical value.

He said people must be educated as to the importance of the ancient sites as in the past, villagers had damaged them looking for items of worth.

“Local people in the past have dug at the foundations of the temples looking for statues and other valuable relics to sell,” he said.

Royal Academy of Cambodia archaeologists found the ancient foundations as part of their research into the Chenla civilisation that also took them to locations in Kratie, Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham provinces, as well as to Vietnam and Laos.

Chanthourn said his team had in previous studies discovered the remains of tangible heritage, including temples, and recorded the intangible ones, such as historical folk tales.

His team last year handed over an ancient inscription from the main temple gate at Samphu Borak to the Kratie provincial department of culture and fine arts for museum study, Chanthourn said.

He said the Chenla period Samphu Borak, on the Mekong River in Kratie province, was yet to be fully researched.

He said the recent discoveries showed that the ancestors of the Cambodian people were truly creators, builders and engineers.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia

  • Cambodia, Vietnam exchange border maps amid criticism

    Cambodia and Vietnam formally exchanged border maps on Monday despite criticism from former members of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that the Kingdom is losing land in the deal. The two countries said agreement on the border is 84 per cent complete, leaving