A boat unearthed at a construction site in Siem Reap’s Angkor Thom district in April was made in 1207 AD, according to carbon dating results announced on Friday.
The 809-year-old vessel was carved from a single tree trunk during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.
Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal said the results, produced by a radio carbon dating lab in New Zealand, were announced at the biannual meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor.
“I believe this is the oldest boat that has been found so far,” Kosal said.
“Apsara believes this will be another great piece of information, which will enlighten us to understand how the Khmer people were using the boat.
“This finding will help to give us more shape to the history of Cambodia; there are many things we do not yet know about the reign of Jayavarman VII.”
Archaeologist Chen Chanratana said the find showed a continuity of boat-building stretching back hundreds of years.
“Before, we could see the image of the boat carved on the wall of the temple, but now we can see the actual boat that remains,” Chanratana said.
The vessel, currently submerged in a baray at Angkor Wat, is set to be displayed for tourists – either in a museum or as part of a travelling exhibition, but Kosal stressed it was crucial the boat was “wholly preserved”.