The National Museum on Friday took possession of a seventh century stone tablet after a pagoda in Kampong Speu finally agreed to let go of it after a year of negotiations.
The stone with the inscription “Suvarnabhumi” was discovered by monks in Baset district last year and was taken for safekeeping in the Kiri Sdachkong pagoda in Svay Chacheb commune.
Sar Soputra, a provincial deputy governor, said that after finding the artefact the pagoda monks refused to hand it over to the local authorities but instead hid it underground.
He said that the authorities advised them that it is a treasure that should be preserved as a national heritage by the National Museum where everyone could view it.
“The local authority kept asking the pagoda for the tablet several times but the monks did not hand it over to us, saying that that people in the province wanted to it kept safe in the pagoda where they could pray to it,” Mr Soputra said. “We explained to them that we would hand it over to the National Museum where it will be better preserved.”
Full story in Monday’s paper.