The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave.
The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation Center, Im Sokrithy, told The Post on Thursday that the discovery is a mystery buried at the bottom of the pond for almost 1,000 years.
“We have never seen such a thing in any other place, and especially not in Angkor Wat. Khmer and foreign archaeologists have been researching Angkor areas for more than 150 years, but we have never discovered anything like this,” he said.
Sokrithy said the wooden structure’s discovery was a mere coincidence as the conservation team had not previously noticed it.
He said initially, ANA aimed to just restore and repair the pond, a favourite of local and international visitors who often took pictures of the temple that reflected off the water.
However, as too many people visited the pond, there was much sediment collected at its base. The cliff and shoreline were also damaged. Hence, the ANA decided to restore it to bring out the best of the temple and the pond.
“We found the wooden structure by accident as we excavated and studied the bottom of the pond. At first, we noticed a wooden pole buried at the bottom of the pond and didn’t quite know what it was.
“But the interest of the archaeologists was spurred with this find. We wanted to ascertain what kind of wood it is, and we gradually discovered that it is a structure of a building,” Sokrithy said.
He said the structure has not been fully explored as it could only be partially seen. The ANA will continue further research to see the bottom structure of the wooden building.
“In about a week, we will have a better picture of the structure,” he said.
Sokrithy said the ANA will continue to research the structure’s history to ascertain the exact age of the building.
“It may have been built in the 12th century of the Angkor Wat era as a small, not very large wooden building, in the pond at the heart of Angkor Wat,” he said.