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Boat found at Siem Reap work site could be ancient artefact

Officials inspect a potentially ancient longboat in Siem Reap on Saturday after it was uncovered at a construction site. Photo supplied
Officials inspect a potentially ancient longboat in Siem Reap on Saturday after it was uncovered at a construction site. Photo supplied

Boat found at Siem Reap work site could be ancient artefact

Archaeology authorities are eagerly waiting to discover the true age of a potentially ancient boat after it was dredged up from the sandy depths in Siem Reap on Friday afternoon.

The 12.83-metre vessel was carved out from a single tree trunk and was unearthed some 7 metres underground at a construction site in Angkor Thom district, Apsara Authority spokesperson Long Kosal said.

A sample of the rare find has been sent for carbon dating to determine its age.

“From our point of view, this is the first boat of its kind that we’ve seen,” Kosal said.

“We cannot make any assumption or conclusion … but we believe this could be from ancient times.”

The boat is now lying submerged in the moat around Angkor Wat for preservation.

But the unlikely find could have been lost, if Leang Dai commune chief Kim Chhorn had not alerted authorities in spite of initial reluctance from construction site owner Som Yin.

Yin confirmed she found the boat two weeks ago and feared her site would be closed, but she agreed to the excavation after speaking with authorities.

Kosal said the boat could reignite interest in the Kingdom’s history.

“It is very exciting that we have found a new discovery. It will give us further evidence to understand more about the history of Angkor, or the time after Angkor,” he said.

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

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