Villagers embarked on a treasure hunt for gold when a bead was found in a rice field in Cambodia’s Takeo province. Authorities had to step in to protect the area, which had archaeological significance due to its proximity to Angkor Borei.
Frenzy over the discovery of a gold bead in Takeo. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160606
Chance find prompts small-scale gold rush in Takeo
Phnom Penh Post, 06 June 2016
Residents in Takeo province’s Angkor village have flocked to look for gold in a rice field behind the village after a villager tending cows found a gold bead, though authorities have cautioned against the gold rush, saying the area has archaeological significance.
Nob Dol, chief of Prek Phtorl commune, said a mass of villagers rushed to search for gold after the villager found the bead near a dike on his way home on Thursday.
“As I’ve heard, about seven people were lucky to find small beads of gold; some small, some big,” he said. “Some said they found up to [150 grams] of gold. There was also news that some found gold worth $1,000 to $2,000, but I did not see that.”
Officials from the provincial department of culture and fine arts went to the site and asked people to stop digging the field, Dol said. The owner of the rice field also sought help from authorities to halt the digging.
Full story here.
The Phnom Penh Post has a feature on how looting of artefacts in Angkor Borei has become a cottage industry. It is heartbreaking to see on many levels – first, the locals do it in order to earn a bit of extra case but the cash isn’t that much at all. Secondly, this is a reminder to not buy artefacts, even from ‘reputed’ dealers in Thailand. They are almost certainly looted, and contributes nothing to the local economy.
Pottery at the Angkor Borei museum. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20150808
Ancient treasures in the backyard
Phnom Penh Post, 08 August 2015
Angkor Borei – about 70km south of Phnom Penh – is thought to be the location of one of Southeast Asia’s earliest cities. But rather than being protected and studied, looting of the remaining artefacts has become a subsistence-level cottage industry for the current residents.
Cambodian antiquity and land laws deem all ancient artefacts state property, though Savorn said police turn a blind eye provided he keeps the digging on his own land.
While Sambath said most artefacts found their way to the global antiquities market via Thailand, Savorn said he had no idea who ultimately bought his wares. All he knew, he added, was that he sold the items to Khmer middlemen.
“The things that I find are not really valuable, only tiny bits of gold, and jars and pots I sell cheaply for around 3,000 to 4,000 riel,” he said, adding that the most he ever made was 50,000 riel ($12.50) from a gold piece.
Full story here.
This week on Wednesday Rojak, we find that there’s a lot more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat… but you already knew that, didn’t you? Plus, a couple of side trips to Laos and Thailand.
photo credit: deevaugn
I know I’ve missed two weeks of rojak, and that’s because I’ve been struggling with access to the internet in my new home in Penang! But without much further ado, here’s this week’s salad of archaeological stuff culled from the web:
photo credit: å¤ªé¼“