Unlocking the secrets of the Preah Khan of Kampong Svay

Preah Khan of Kampong Svay. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160424

The Preah Khan of Kampong Svay – not to be confused with the temple of the same name in the Angkor Archaeological Park – is a great complex located in Preah Vihear province, with much archaeological potential as the hub for iron production in the Angkorian period.

Preah Khan of Kampong Svay. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160424
Preah Khan of Kampong Svay. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160424

Ancient Secrets
Cambodia Daily, 24 April 2016

But why this once affluent site was left to fade into jungle overgrowth centuries ago still remains a mystery. Prak Sonnara, director of heritage at the Ministry of Culture, calls it “one of the most enigmatic provincial centers of the Khmer Empire.”

It was also gigantic, noted Canadian archaeologist Mitch Hendrickson. “An interesting temple because it has multiple phases and it just tends to grow outward and outward and outward to the fourth enclosure walls which are earth and not stone,” he said.

“You look at the area that that encloses: It’s roughly 22 square kilometers. Just to put that in perspective, Angkor Thom is 12 square kilometers,” he said, referring to the walled city in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The complex of Preah Khan—the largest single-temple compound erected during the Angkorian empire—was built over several centuries, from the late 10th century through the late 12th century, Mr. Hendrickson said. “So [kings] Suryavarman I, Suryavarman II and Jayavarman VII all have a footprint here. And kings in between seemed to have had some sort of modifications here and there.”

Full story here.

Related Posts

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *