The Conservation and Archaeology Department under the National Authority for Preah Vihear on May 20 found two metallic fragments of what is believed to be an Angkorian era vase or pot, near a small temple at the foot of Preah Vihear Mountain, located in Protected Zone II of the Preah Vihear temple area.

A 6cm by 11cm shard likely formed part of the neck, while a 12cm-high fragment may have belonged to the body of the container.

The latter contained an inscription that has been identified by a linguistics expert to be from the late 12th-century, reminiscent of writing during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.

The object may have been an offering to Bhaisajyaguru, who is also known as the “Medicine Buddha”. It was most likely kept at a small temple near where it was found, called an “arogyasala” (hall of diseaselessness), which are sanctums or worshipping halls linked to medical treatment centres of the era.

“The discovery of these metal objects is an important source for the study of health centres in the Preah Vihear area,” the National Authority for Preah Vihear said, adding that the fragments would be displayed at the Samdech Techo Hun Sen Eco-Global Museum.

The museum is located in Thammacheat Samdech Techo Hun Sen village, Sra Em commune, Choam Ksan district, in the northwestern corner of Preah Vihear province near the Thai border.