The Apsara National Authority (ANA) found the buried head of an asura statue while cleaning up a location that used to be occupied by vendor stalls in front of the south gate of the Angkor Thom temple, according to the ANA.

Chhouk Somala, ANA’s head of the registration team at the Department of Conservation of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology, said that the statue’s head was found when the team cleaned up the location after moving the stalls to the new parking lot in front of Phnom Bakheng.

“At first, the team dug 30 to 40 cm deep and found three pieces of ancient stone. Then the team washed and assembled them into the asura head 60 cm high, 65 cm wide, and 59 cm thick,” he said.

He said that the sandstone statue is in the Bayon style. The statue’s head was taken to the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum to be cleaned and repaired. The ANA team will try to find the original body of the statue and reassemble the head and body.

According to ANA, the villagers said that where the statue was found used to be a restoration site for Angkor Thom's south gate in the French period and there are some fragments of statues left there.

ANA said it expects to find more statues at the site as they continue to make arrangements to increase public order at the location.