Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers seek to keep unearthed artefacts

Villagers seek to keep unearthed artefacts

Two recently unearthed Buddha statues on display at a pagoda in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district earlier this week. Photo supplied
Two recently unearthed Buddha statues on display at a pagoda in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district earlier this week. Photo supplied

Villagers seek to keep unearthed artefacts

Villagers in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district are refusing to hand over a cache of recently unearthed Buddha statues and other artefacts to the Ministry of Culture, which wants to keep the items at a museum.

Residents of Preah Neak village, in Ang Snuol’s Chhak Chhoeu Neang commune, found the relics while digging near a pagoda last week.

Heng Kamsan, head of archaeology at the Ministry of Culture, said yesterday that the Buddha statues were about 200 years old, while some of the other objects – including pottery shards and what appeared to be stone tools – could date back to prehistory.

“They are valuable. We [want] to keep them at the museum for study purposes and for the next generation to learn,” he said. “We are afraid of losing them or someone stealing them one day.”

Nim Nyradeth, Ang Snuol district governor, said that local authorities had reported the discovery to provincial culture department officials who twice tried to convince villagers to hand over the items, but the villagers refused.

“The expert officials do not want to take these ancient items without the villagers agreeing . . . But the villagers do not understand the value of ancient things. They will come to negotiate with the villagers again.”

Villager Lok Ta Bros, 61, meanwhile, said the villagers wanted to keep them at the local pagoda for ceremonies. “They believe that keeping the Buddha statues and some ancient items at the pagoda will bring them luck and happiness.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials