Environmental specialists are currently clearing the forest surrounding two recently discovered temples and preparing a road leading to them, Ratanakkiri provincial Department of Environment director Phon Khemerin said.

Khemerin told The Post on Sunday that the O’Preah – one of the temples – was discovered in 2008 in Lumphat district within Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary. Yak Nang – the other temple – was discovered in 2006 in O’Yadav National Park.

He said O’Preah temple’s foundation was made of lateritic stone, while remnants of the temples were made of sandstone. The temple faces east and is located about 400m west of the Srepok river.

According to Khemerin, the temple may have been built during the Angkor era between the 10th and 11th centuries. The team found two broken pedestals. Each pedestal has two holes which were used to hold deity statues. The specialists also found remnants of pottery and clay at the back of the temple.

He said the Yak Nang temple was made of sandstone and also faces east. The temple has suffered extensive damage everywhere. The western side has been completed destroyed.

The Yak Nang temple may have been built at the beginning of the Angkor era, or possibly before that, he said.

“Right now, we are clearing the area and preparing a road into the area. In particular, we will continue to study and survey the nearby area. We suspect there may be other temples in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary or O’Yadav, but we are not certain of the exact location as yet,” he said.

Environmental specialists found two broken pedestals at O’Preah temple, each with two holes which were used to hold deity statues. Photo supplied

Prak Sunnara, the director-general of the Department of Heritage under the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, told The Post on Sunday that the two temples were being carefully protected while the government carries out its tasks.

He said the specialists had no plans for excavation due to a lack of funds.

Sunnara said the Yak Nang temple was discovered in 2006 by experts from the Ratanakkiri provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts operating in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary. Government specialists also discovered the O’Preah temple.

“The entrance to the [O’Preah] temple is easy to travel to now, but we need to cross the Srepok river because there is no bridge. As for plans to preserve the temple, we hire villagers as security guards to protect it."

“We don’t plan to excavate . . . we’ll reserve our funds to restore other temples which were discovered before,” he said.