Residents of Pursat province’s Stok Chum and Tuol Phou villages in Koh Chum commune handed over two lintels from ancient temples and a piece of medicine-grinding rock to the provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts for storage and study.
Koh Chum commune police chief Saing Bres told The Post that the ancient lintels were found by villagers after digging a pond in the commune on February 28.
The villagers then took them home and reported the discovery to local police, who in turn invited specialists to inspect and conserve them as national cultural heritages, he said.
On February 29, officials from the Department of Culture and Fine Arts came to inspect and retrieve them for temporary storage at the Provincial Museum of Culture pending evaluation by national experts, Bres said.
“Pursat provincial department of culture officials said the sculptures on the ancient temple lintels have never been found in Pursat province before,” he said.
Pursat provincial culture and fine arts department director Lach Chengly said the style of the sculptures on the lintels did not match previous styles found in the province.
“The style of ancient temple sculptures in Pursat province are rich only in Garuda,” he said.
Ros Samnang, the former deputy director of the Pursat provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts in charge of heritage and arts, said the style of the sculpture recently matched Sambor Prei Kuk temple in Kampong Thom province, dating back to the pre-Angkorian age.
“According to the style of the sculpture, we can conclude that they are ancient temple lintels in the area of Sambor Prei Kuk temple. And they were likely looted and hidden in the village during wartime,” he said.
Samnang said the two lintels would be restored and kept as state property for study.