An ancient piece of pottery dated between the 11th and 15th century has been found in Siem Reap province by a local farmer.
The clay jar, which was eventually handed over to the Apsara Authority to be put in a museum, was discovered three months ago by Sab Kuon, 68, while she was digging the ground to plant corn.
Not realising its value, Ms Kuon said at first she did not dare remove the jar from the ground, as she was afraid it was a vessel for a spirit.
“I asked my son to take it out and we did not keep it in the house because we think it is an unlucky thing, which could bring bad luck to myself and my family,” she said.
Ms Kuon said she never intended to hide or sell the artefact, as she was not aware of its value.
“After I found and took the jar to the house, I was sick and I spent a lot of money to treat myself. One day, I decided to meet with a fortune teller to ask what happened to me. The fortune teller told me that I have an ancient thing in the house. I did not care for the thing, which caused me to be unwell,” she said.
Ms Kuon told a worker, who was excavating land at the Angkor-era hospital site at Tonle Sngout temple, and the worker reported it to the Apsara Authority.
Apsara Authority officials examined the jar at Ms Kuon’s house, and explained to her the value of what she had found and the importance in preserving Cambodia’s heritage. The officials also gave Ms Kuon $50.
Ms Kuon agreed to give the clay jar to the Apsara Authority to be displayed at Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum.
Dr Ear Darith, Deputy Director of Angkor-International Centre for Research and Documentation, said the clay jar was probably used by ancient people for storing food items, such as salt, sugar, or fermented fish.
“This jar helps us understand life for people in ancient times, and to see that we still use this kind of pottery in our daily life,” he said.
Dr Darith appealed to all Cambodian citizens who have found ancient artefacts not to sell or keep them because they can be used to discover the rich history of Cambodia.