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A feature on Cambodian archaeologist Thuy Chanthourn and his work excavating ironworking sites in Preah Vihear Province.

The Ancient Ironworks of Angkor
The Cambodian Daily, 05 March 2013

The discovery of pre-Angkorian ironworks sites in Preah Vihear province in 2010 is a tale of perseverance with a measure of luck, as is so often the case with important archeological finds.

For years, archeologist Thuy Chanthourn had been exploring the countryside along the path of an Angkorian-era road that linked Preah Vihear temple and the Stung Treng City area, hoping to find the site of a large settlement named Mlu Prei mentioned decades ago in an obscure French research document.

In 1943, Paul Levy of the French research institution Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient had published a report on that settlement that some historians believed was the area’s major center 1,500 years ago.
But all Mr. Chanthourn had been able to find of this center were a few houses and a shaky wooden footbridge over a stream in Preah Vihear province.

Mr. Chanthourn usually conducted his research on his own time. But in January 2010, he took with him 10 of his archeology students from the Royal University of Fine Arts. After crisscrossing the region for hours along jungle trails, at 4:30 pm on January 14 he and his students reached the site of road construction complete with work crews and heavy machinery. An oxcart road that had been a major thoroughfare in Angkorian times was being turned into a drivable road thanks to Chinese funding.

Full story here.

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