Mystery skeleton of Banteay Chmar

A mysterious skeleton has been discovered at the remote temple of Banteay Chmar, and the mystery is if these were the remains of an ancient Khmer (unlikely), a looter or a combatant in one of the recent wars.

Bones from Banteay Chmar. Source: The Phnom Penh Post 20141020
Bones from Banteay Chmar. Source: The Phnom Penh Post 20141020

Temple skeleton a mystery
Phnom Penh Post, 20 October 2014

Officials are scratching their heads over the origins of a skeleton found at a remote temple in Banteay Meanchey province, with different theories about its provenance competing with each other.

The human remains were found under a collapsed pile of rock on Friday morning by a repair team working at the south entrance of Banteay Chhmar temple, which dates to the 12th and 13th century.

Ven Som Oun, Banteay Chhmar commune chief, said the skeleton’s skull was cracked and the frame positioned face down.

Som Oun noted the lack of clothing, as did Bun Rat, a local farmer who said he thought it once belonged to an “ancient people,” because “the skull is big and the shins are big and long [and] especially [because] there are no clothes at all”.

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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