Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Farmer discovers mystery stone tablet in Anlong Veng

Farmer discovers mystery stone tablet in Anlong Veng

Officials inspect a stone tablet found in Anlong Veng on Friday that bears inscriptions of an unknown Khmer King's royal directive. Supplied
Officials inspect a stone tablet found in Anlong Veng on Friday that bears inscriptions of an unknown Khmer King's royal directive. Supplied

Farmer discovers mystery stone tablet in Anlong Veng

Historians and archaeologists are working to determine the origin and significance of a stone tablet appearing to bear the inscription of a Khmer King's royal directive that a farmer found last week in an Oddar Meanchey cassava field.

The farmer, identified only as Ngich, reportedly found the object while digging up rows of cassava in his field near Romchek village, according to the Ministry of Culture's Heritage Department Director General Prak Sonnara.

"This is a very important discovery for our nation,” Sonnara said. “As far as I have known, this is the first tablet to be found in the area."

On Monday, department officials studied the tablet – which is now at the provincial culture office – to determine its origins.

“We do not know yet whether it is a new inscription that has been found or an existing one… which would mean it was stolen,” Sonnara said.

Vong Sotheara, a professor of history at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and a specialist in stone inscriptions, said the tablet bears an ancient form of Khmer seen as early as the 7th century. The part that is legible refers to offering land to the Gods, though the meaning is currently unclear.

“Although the king’s name and the year are illegible, I believe that the inscription is from the reign of King Jayavarman V," who ruled from 968–1001, he said.

Despite the presence of ancient temple ruins in Anlong Veng, Sotheara’s first hypothesis is that the tablet was transported from Banteay Srei, a temple in the Angkor Archaeological Park built by King Jayavarman V, based on similarities to inscriptions found there, as well as descriptions in the text that appear to refer to the area.

“Some thief may have buried the tablet in the place where it was found last week, planning to bring it to sell in Thailand,” Sotheara said.

Until researchers carry out a thorough study, including of the area where the tablet was found and nearby temples, no conclusion can be made, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh