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Farmer stumbles upon ancient artefact

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:

A piece of King Jayavarman V’s royal directive has been handed over to the Oddar Meanchey provincial cultural department after the artifact was discovered by a cassava farmer last Thursday.

Ly Sok Kheang, director of the Anglong Veng Peace Centre, said that Long Ngil, a 28-year-old farmer, discovered the ancient directive while he was ploughing through his cassava farm with a tractor in Anlong Veng commune’s Rumcheck village.

The slab is 1.2 metres tall and 41 centimetre wide and it has been inscribed with letters on one side. Researchers at the Anlong Veng Peace Centre believed that the piece was taken from the Banteay Srey temple.

A colleague of Mr Sok Kheang, a researcher named Ya Pun, was working at the Anlong Veng Peace Centre when he was suddenly informed by a villager about the finding.

“Mr Ngil informed Mr Pun about his discovery and asked relevant institutions to secure the artefact,” said Mr Sok Kheang.

He added that after he got the information, he contacted provincial authorities to find out more about the ancient slab.

“According to professor Vong Sotheara, deputy department head of history at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the piece of inscription was an inscribed royal directive of King Jayavarman V dated year 968 to 970 AD,” he said.

According to Mr Sotheara the inscription reads: “The king issued an order to give land and houses and ordered all lands bordering the temple to offer [goods] to the lord.”

Mr Sok Kheang noted that the artefact was sent to the provincial culture and fine arts department for safe-keeping.

Hong Yeoun , director of Oddar Meanchey provincial culture and fine arts department, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Prak Sonnara, director-general of heritage at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said yesterday that the piece of inscription is being kept at the provincial department because it was found in that province.

“It is very important and we will take care of it,” said Mr Sonnara. “We will study the stone more to see whether it truly is an ancient artefact. I am waiting to see the report about it from the provincial culture department.”

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