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Kids stumble on lost artefacts

People inspect a section of carved stone last week in Kampong Chhnang province
People inspect a section of carved stone last week in Kampong Chhnang province after it was discovered by a group of children who were grazing their cows in a field. NATIONAL POLICE

Kids stumble on lost artefacts

Children taking their cows out to pasture in Kampong Chhnang town last week stumbled upon what appear to be the remains of a long-buried 10th-century temple, local authorities said yesterday.

Kampong Chhnang town deputy police chief Ngouk Bunthy said the children found a lintel – the load-bearing block above a doorway and that a later search found a small foot from a statue and another small piece of stonework.

The items are slated to be officially turned over to the provincial museum today.

“There is some high ground near the village from a long time ago.

Those children just saw the edge of the lintel [was visible] and they wondered what it was, and then they called the other villagers to take it out on Thursday,” Bunthy said. “They called the police and the Culture and Fine Arts Department officials to see it.”

Bunthy said that he visited the site again on Saturday, discovering what he believed to be the foot of a statue of a child and a small pillar.

The lintel was about a metre and a half in length and a little over half a metre deep, while the foot was about a third of a metre tall, he said.

“We will celebrate an offering ceremony to bring these things to the Culture and Fine Arts Department and provincial museum tomorrow,” he added. “I told the villagers and the owner of the hill not to allow someone to dig or find things at that place. We will keep it for the experts to do more research over there.”

Sok Thouk, the director of the provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts, said yesterday that the lintel had already been brought to the provincial museum.

“As we checked it, it was in the Koh Ker style in the Angkorian era, and was the first time we found [such a piece] in our town. We will keep it all for everybody to see it in our provincial museum,” he said.

Thouk said that he never suspected there could be a temple under the high ground, and was now asking to preserve the area for further research.

“I thought it was a simple small hill, but actually it has a temple under the ground that was lost many years ago,” he said. “We will cooperate with the local officials and villagers to keep that hill and not allow anyone to dig or destroy that place.”

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