The largest 3D jigsaw puzzle in the world

Have you seen those ultra-hard jigsaw puzzles? The one with no picture on the cover to refer to, and worse, with no edges to mark out the border? The Baphuon temple in Angkor sounds pretty much like the same thing – but thankfully the restoration work is almost complete.

Cambodia '08 - 121 - Angkor Thom - Baphuon
photo credit: mckaysavage

Cambodian temple puzzle nearly complete
AFP, 28 October 2009

Restorers dismantled Baphuon in the 1960s when it was falling apart, laying some 300,000 of its stone blocks in the grass and jungle around the site.

But before the French-led team of archaeologists could reassemble the 34-metre (112-foot) tall temple, the hardline communist Khmer Rouge swept to power in 1975.

Up to two million people died from overwork, starvation and torture as the regime tried to re-set Cambodia to “Year Zero” by eliminating reminders of its past — including the records to put Baphuon back together.

“The archive of the numbering system (for scattered stones) was stolen and destroyed by the Khmer Rouge,” Royere says.

“We had to face a kind of jigsaw puzzle without the picture how to rebuild it.”


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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