More than 100 remnants of Buddha statues were uncovered by archaeological experts in Siem Reap province’s Angkor Wat area, the Apsara Authority said yesterday.
Srun Tech, manager of the Apsara Authority’s excavation project at Angkor Wat temple, said the artefacts were discovered accidentally on Saturday by the Apsara Authority’s working team, who were implementing an irrigation system management project in the area.
An excavation operation has since unearthed 141 remnants of Buddha figurines, equivalent to 21 whole statues.
“We have mostly found Buddha statues – 21, so far. The statues were buried and mixed up with some modern items, including metal door frame, glass shrapnel, bicycle bell and rim and even plastic bags. So, the statues were probably buried around the ‘60s or ‘70s,” said Mr Tech.
He noted the statues found were mostly broken, with no heads attached, prompting the archaeologists to suspect the missing parts could have been buried deeper.
Judging by the way the statues were orderly buried, Mr Tech said the artefacts may have been buried intentionally to avoid being detected by other people.
“The recent discovery underscores the fact that the Angkor Wat is still an important target for further research,” he said.
Im Sokrithy, head of Conservation of Monuments in the Angkor Park Department, said as of yesterday, the Apsara Authority’s working group has excavated 40 centimetres of land at the site.
The excavation work will continue to be carried out, including further studies on the era from when the statues were made and the purpose behind the burying of the relics.
In late March, the Apsara Authority’s working team also discovered a wooden structure of more than 1,000 years of age and a Ganesh statue in the middle of the Angkor Wat temple’s northern pond while experts were restoring the pond.