Hints of a pre-Angkorian Cambodia outside of Phnom Penh

Crucibles from Preah Neak pagoda. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160405

Numerous finds from a hill in Kandal province hint at a rich archaeological potential spanning to possibly the pre-Angkorian period, but there are insufficient funds to look deeper.

Crucibles from Preah Neak pagoda. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160405
Crucibles from Preah Neak pagoda. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160405

Pre-Angkorian trove of artefacts found in Kandal
Phnom Penh Post, 05 April 2016

The discovery of hundreds of ancient artefacts – most likely spanning several eras – at a pagoda outside of Phnom Penh this month could shed new light on the poorly understood pre-Angkorian period, a Royal Academy of Cambodia archaeologist said yesterday.

“These finds are the historical evidence for our Khmer-ness,” said Thuy Chanthuon, deputy director of the academy’s Institute of Culture and Fine Arts, who is analysing the findings from the Preah Neak pagoda, located on a hill about 30 kilometres from Phnom Penh in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district.

The artefacts, which included a copper seal buried with a sword, dozens of apparently pre-Angkorian stone tools and coins from the early 1900s, were found just 2 metres or less below the surface.

“The best item is the seal,” said Chanthuon. “It is from the Oudong era, between 300 and 400 years old. The seal and metal sword were likely buried with a man who must have had a high position in the society, [like] an oknha or provincial governor.”

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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