Villages herding their cows and buffalos deep in the forest stumbled upon an old temple in the Tumnop Tabin area in Sampov Loun district’s Chrey Seima commune in Battambang province.
However, Sampov Loun district governor Ngeav Bunyeang said on Monday that officials could not confirm if the temple was an ancient structure.
He said the Spean Yol villagers who live close to the forest found a pile of stones in a structure resembling that of ancient temples and named it Prasat Neang Kong Hing.
Upon inspection, the authorities said the stones were ancient and had degraded. However, they could not confirm if it was part of an ancient temple.
Bunyeang said the stones covered about 50sqm, and that he will submit a report to the Battambang provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts so that the experts can inspect and investigate the temple’s history.
“I cannot assess the history of the stones 100 per cent. According to observations, the stones are ancient and carved in different shapes. I need to report to the Department [of Culture and Fine Arts], so they can send officers to inspect the temple and conduct further investigation. I cannot make any conclusions as anything I say might not be right,” he said.
Bunyeang said the location of the stones is far from the villagers’ houses. People often herd their cows and buffalos in the area.
“No one had come as far as the location. However, a couple days ago, someone ventured in and found the temple,” he said.
Provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts director Keo Sopheap told The Post on Monday that she is yet to receive details of the find.
“I haven’t received any news yet. I will ask district officers and will send officials to perform a thorough inspection,” she said.
Chrey Seima commune chief Duy Doeun could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Local newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea Daily’s Sunday issue said villagers who lived in the Tumnop Tabin area unearthed an ancient temple, Prasat Neang Kong Hing, which was degraded and dilapidated in the forest.
“It is regrettable that no one knew about it. The temple was unprotected and unpreserved,” it said.
Villagers, it said, have called on the authorities to preserve the recently found forest temple which was left abandoned.