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Workshop highlights research on Kingdom’s ancient history

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Lion Temple in the Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site, a cluster of ancient brick temples in Kampong Thom province. The site was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2017. Hong Menea

Workshop highlights research on Kingdom’s ancient history

Some 5,356 ancient sites have been put on the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ archaeology and prehistory list for management since their discovery, a senior official said on Thursday during the “Publishing the Results of New Archaeological Discoveries” workshop.

Thieng Vandarong, the undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Culture, said national and international teams of archaeologists have studied the history of the Angkor Empire since the early 20th century.

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts created the Archaeology and Prehistory Department in 2007 to research and preserve Cambodia’s rich historical legacy, Vandarong said.

In collaboration with 21 international archaeological teams, experts from the department have discovered and researched ancient sites across Cambodia, he said.

“Our research focuses mainly on the prehistory, ancient and post-Angkor periods. We have currently registered and manage 5,356 sites, including 89 ancient bridges, 175 fortifications, 1,889 ancient temples, 2,482 ancient hill sites and 181 prehistoric sites,” he said.

At the event launch, there were workshops with the department experts demonstrating technical procedures and research activities.

The workshop also showcased the research being conducted with four international teams of archaeologists, including one from Japan’s Nara Institute and Australia’s Flinders University.

Research is also being carried out with teams from the University of Illinois in the US and France’s National Museum of Natural History, as well as a joint team from the University of Oregon and the University of Hawaii in the US.

Voeun Vuthy, the director of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ Archaeology and Prehistory Department, told The Post on Thursday that experts from his department had excavated and researched six ancient sites so far this year.

Archaeologists from the department had also worked with international teams to study other ancient sites, including at Banteay Longvek in Kampong Chhnang province and Ek Phnom Pagoda in Battambang province, as well as sites at Lo’ Slor Dek and La’ang Spean in Preah Vihear province.

“Research from these ancient sites will be compiled for the next generation of archaeologists to study, to broaden our understanding of our national history, preserve our culture and connect Cambodia’s history to that of Southeast Asia and the world,” Vuthy said.

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