The mystery of Suryavarman I’s temple solved

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Baphuon. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160620

Dating of metal fixings in the architecture at the Baphuon temple in Angkor Thom have led researchers to conclude that it was built as the mountain temple of King Suryavarman I who reigned in the 11th century.

Baphuon. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160620

Baphuon. Source: Cambodia Daily 20160620

Metal Findings Give New Perspective on Angkorian History
Cambodia Daily, 20 June 2016

One thing that set Suryavarman I apart from other great kings—to the puzzlement of historians and archaeologists—was that he did not seem to have erected his own mountain temple: Jayavarman V built Ta Keo in the 10th century, Suryavarman II Angkor Wat in the early 12th century and Jayavarman VII the Bayon in the late 12th century.

But that mystery seems to have been solved thanks to cutting-edge research into the iron used to build the Baphuon temple, the second largest structure in Angkor Archaelogical Park after Angkor Wat.

This three-tiered pyramid was the monument that Suryavarman I built, according to carbon-dating of the metal used to hold the temple together.

“It’s very strange that a king with that amount of influence and power didn’t build himself anything in Angkor,” said archaeologist Mitch Hendrickson of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who headed the research team along with archaeometallurgist Stephanie Leroy of the Archaeomaterials and Alteration Prediction Laboratory in France.

Full story here.

Cambodia to seek World Heritage status for Khmer temple

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11 June 2007 (Bangkok Post) – The Preah Vihear temple which straddles the border between Thailand and Cambodia is the next site that the government of Cambodia hopes to be listed as a World Heritage site. The temple was built by Kings Suryavarman I and II between the 11th and 12th centuries. Ownership of the site was disputed between Thailand and Cambodia, and the International Court of Justice awarded the latter custody of the site. However, the temple is more easily accessible from the Thai side of the border.

Cambodia asks UN status for border temple

he Cambodian government has renewed efforts to have Unesco classify the ancient Preah Vihear temple (Khao Phra Viharn in Thai) as a World Heritage site, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith confirmed Monday.

Kanharith confirmed reports in the Khmer-language Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper that the important 11th to 12th century temple, which lies in the far north of the country perched on the Thai border, should be recognised as a World Heritage monument to help assure its continued preservation.

“This is not the first time the government has attempted to have Preah Vihear listed as a World Heritage site, but now several people in the government understand the procedures necessary to put this case much better,” Kanharith said by telephone.

He said Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Deputy Prime Minister Sok An were leading the new push for World Heritage classification. The government last attempted to have the key religious and architectural site classified in 2001.

Read more about Cambodia’s bid to list Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site.

Related books about the Preah Vihear temple:
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
Angkor and the Khmer Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places) by M. D. Coe
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition by D. Rooney and P. Danford