Archaeologists from the Apsara National Authority (ANA), a body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaeological Park, have unearthed the partial head and shoulders of a statue of a deity near Angkor Thom’s Ta Kav gate in Siem Reap province, and have reassembled the sculpture for display at the temple.
ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on September 20 that while the team was excavating and repairing the Ta Kav gate, they discovered the buried pieces of what must originally have been a very large statue.
“We are preparing to put the statue back in its original location, which means that it will be reassembled as a sculpture with the head on its body,” he said.
He said that at present, the team is also busy repairing the Ta Kav gate and the statues of angels and giants that were in generally poor condition at all of the main gates in the Angkor area.
“In the past, this area was badly damaged by overgrowth of trees and jungle foliage and now we have repaired about 30 per cent of it. It is difficult work but so far it has gone smoothly.
“This discovery is important because it shows that sometimes what we think is lost is actually just hidden. When we dig and find these sculptures it is a joy for those of us who work to preserve ancient artefacts. Restoring them increases the cultural value of the temples,” he said.
Regarding the risks posed by trees in the Angkor area or the effect they have on the condition of some of the temples, Yit Chanda – the ANA’s deputy director-general in charge of forest management, landscape, culture and environment – said the park’s trees and natural beauty are also tourist attractions at Angkor resort.
In order to save the temples as well as ensure the safety of visitors, the ANA has a group of tree experts to regularly monitor the conditions around the temples and remove any that may cause harm.
“Apart from the main task of preserving the temples, promoting sustainable development and preserving and upgrading the cultural landscape, the work of forest conservation and increasing green cover around Angkor is also considered a priority of the ANA,” he said.