Takeo authorities said on Monday that the province’s residents were the main source of artefacts and statues received by its museums. The province, home to 34 pre-Angkor Empire temples, has a claim to be the origin of Khmer civilisation.
Chhorn Bunhak, the deputy head of the provincial museum, told The Post on Monday that Takeo was the site of Cambodia’s first civilisation.
There are two museums in the province. One is the provincial museum in Takeo town and the other is in Angkor Borei district, where artefacts unearthed at the area’s Funan-era temples are researched and kept on public display.
“I have just taken office here. I have received one artefact. Three others were handed over before I took office this year,” Bunhak said.
The artefacts were mainly received after local residents found them and handed them over to the museum. Most artefacts were Buddha statues, stone carvings and Shiva linga sculptures.
“In Takeo, there are always many students and national and international visitors studying the history of artefacts kept in our museums. We know that Takeo is an ancient land that formed the first and foremost culture and civilisation in Cambodia,” Bunhak said.
Prom Sokhunthea, the director of the provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts, told The Post on Monday that provincial heritage protection police, local authorities and 20 residents held a handing-over ceremony last Thursday to mark the return of a 1.4m sandstone standing Buddha statue dating from before the Angkor period.
Seventy-two-year-old Nguon Chorn was digging in Traing district’s Angkanh commune when he discovered the statue and handed it over to the museum, Sokhunthea said.
“When residents discover artefacts, they give them to us. Sometimes we discover one in a year, sometimes three or four. The Buddha statue in the standing posture, we can conclude it was made before the Angkor period in the style of the Phnom Da era,” Sokhunthea said.