Boat Estimated to be 800 Years Old
An ancient boat discovered in March in Siem Reap province’s Angkor Thom district, which until now perplexed scientists over its origin, has been identified as being built more than 800 years ago during the rule of King Jayavarman VII.
Experts at the Apsara Authority, who took possession of the boat in April, said in a report that it was carved out of a large tree. They sent samples of the boat for analysis at a laboratory in New Zealand using radiocarbon dating, a technique used to analyze the age of organic material.
Azedine Bechaouch, a secretary on the science committee of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor), said the 12.87-meter long boat, discovered during a sand dredging operation, was made in 1207.
Apsara Authority vice-president Sok Sangvar said the results were invaluable for researchers and the general public in gaining a deeper understanding of the Khmer empire and the reign of King Jayavarman VII.
“The Apsara Authority will consult with national and international experts to find ways to display the boat to the public so national and international tourists can visit and learn in detail about this ancient vessel,” he said.
Mr. Sangvar said the authority is considering options as to where to display the boat, including the National Museum or even a mobile display. He said they will take the utmost care in preserving the ancient vessel to protect the Kingdom’s heritage.
Initial attempts to recover the boat were hindered when the dredging operation’s owner refused to cooperate with authorities and hand over the boat, but authorities managed to convince her by explaining the significance of the find.
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