Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Experts unsure if urns found at Siem Reap temple are ancient

Experts unsure if urns found at Siem Reap temple are ancient

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Apsara National Authority officials and researchers at Sophia University in Japan are working to identify the origin of eight urns. die

Experts unsure if urns found at Siem Reap temple are ancient

Apsara National Authority (ANA) officials and researchers at Sophia University in Japan are working to identify the origin of eight urns containing human bones that were unearthed in the Banteay Kdei temple complex in Siem Reap town on Monday.

ANA archaeologist Tho Thon said he and experts from Sophia University found the urns within the Banteay Kdei compound next to a Buddhist pillar by Tower C19.

“After we discovered the urns and attempted to research their background, including talking to villagers in the area, we concluded the bones were from the 1980s. They are not human bones from the Angkor period or ancient times,” Thon said.

But ANA spokesman Long Kosal, while acknowledging that the villagers claimed the bones were from the 1980s, said the experts were not yet convinced, because the location they were discovered in was used for burials in ancient times.

He said the researchers would continue their analysis but were also sceptical that the urns dated from ancient times.

“We also found nearly 100 pieces of statues, pots, plates, jars and jewellery in 2011. We later found other specimens at Tower C19. The purpose of the excavation is to explore the structure and the relationship between the Buddhist pillar and Tower C19,” Kosal said.

Nhim Sotheavin, a researcher at Sophia University, said specialists had previously excavated the complex in 1996. At that time, he said, they had found a Chinese urn containing bones embedded in a temple porch.

He said the current excavation work would be completed next Wednesday. This excavation has provided archaeology students with valuable experience which will be crucial in preserving the ancient temples,” he said.

Separately, the Department of Culture and Fine Arts in Oddar Meanchey province on Saturday received a sandstone inscription from Khnar village’s Wat Phnom Dey, in Chongkal district’s Krasaing commune, and will preserve it as an item of national cultural heritage.

The handover ceremony of the inscription was attended by specialist officials from the department’s heritage and museum offices and provincial heritage protection police.

Department of Culture and Fine Arts director Hong Yoeun said the inscription was made from sandstone during the 11th century in the Angkorian period.

Yoeun said it had been taken from Trapeang Roung temple and was 1.02m long, 0.45m wide and 0.35m thick, with four pillars around its corners.

Some of the text carved in the stone had been eroded and parts of the inscription had broken off, he said.

“Specialist officials from the Oddar Meanchey Department of Culture and Fine Arts have taken the stone to be preserved in its compound,” Yoeun said.


  • PM slams HRW ‘double standards’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has chided Human Rights Watch (HRW) Asia director Brad Adams for keeping quiet over protest crackdowns in the US following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Addressing reporters while inspecting infrastructure development in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday,

  • Bank robber of $6M asks to be released

    An accused bank robber who admitted to stealing $6 million has asked the Supreme Court to release him temporarily because he had returned the money. In a court hearing on Tuesday Chan Simuntha, 39, told the judge that on January 18, his wife Teang Vathanaknearyroth told him that

  • WHO: Antibiotics cause more deaths

    Increased antibiotics use in combating the Covid-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming

  • Four more Cambodian peacekeepers get Covid-19 in Mali

    Four more Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeepers in Mali have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of infected Cambodian UN peacekeepers to 10. National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War deputy director-general and spokeswoman Kosal Malinda told The Post on Tuesday

  • Huge tracks of undocumented land a concern for registration officials

    Siem Reap provincial deputy governor Ly Samrith expressed concern that land registration plans for residents scheduled to be completed by late 2021 could not be achieved because 80 per cent of the land had not been registered. Land dispute issues are a major factor that poses a

  • Seniority payments postponed

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training announced on Monday the postponement of seniority payments for workers prior to 2019 and new seniority payments for workers in 2020, opting to implement them next year instead. The ministry also asked more than 25,000 workers in the garment and tourism