Massive statue heads found at Banteay Chhmar

Giant statue heads have been found at Banteay Chhmar, protected because they were buried underneath half a metre of soil laid by repeated flooding.

Statues found at Banteay Chmar. Phnom Penh Post 20141118
Statues found at Banteay Chhmar. Phnom Penh Post 20141118

Three statue heads unearthed
Phnom Penh Post, 18 November 2014

Three Angkorian-era statue heads were found under more than half a metre of soil last week at Banteay Chhmar temple in Banteay Meanchey province.

The massive heads were unearthed between Friday and Sunday during a government-sponsored renovation of the temple, said preservation official Mao Sy.

“Three [heads] were found. Two are intact, but one was broken in the head and mouth,” Sy said, adding that the statues came from the end of the 12th-century reign of Jayavarman VII.

Sy estimated the statues’ heads fell off their bodies several decades ago and were buried by layers of earth brought in by floods.

“If they had not been buried deep into the ground, they would have been cut off, looted and sold. It is very fortunate these statues did not end up getting sold abroad,” he said.

The heads, made of sandstone, will be put in storage and reassembled once further parts are found.

Full story here.

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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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