The Ministry of Environment is exploring two ancient temples likely constructed during the early Angkor era in Ratanakkiri province.
Lim Vanchan, the Ministry of Environment’s information, education and dissemination office deputy director, said the ministry recently explored the ancient sites, which include the Ou Preah and Yak Nang temples.
Ou Preah temple, located in the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, could have been built in the 10th or 11th century, he said.
Constructed with laterite and brick pieces, facing east, it is located on the west bank of Srepok River.
“We found two broken pedestals, each one with two holes on each side to set a statue. We also found jar fragments,” Mr Vanchan said. “According to ethnic minorities in the area, wine jars were richly valued items in the past, which were exchanged against cattle when a family member died.”
“They then buried the body, placed the jar above its head, and planted a tree.”
The Yak Nang temple, discovered in O’Yaday National Park, is likely to be older. Made of clay and facing east, it has suffered a lot of damage.
Mr Vanchan said the Ministry of Environment will cooperate closely with the Ministry of Culture to protect and preserve the ancient temples.
Heng Sophady, deputy director of cultural heritage at the Ministry of Culture, said that the Yak Nang temple was discovered in 2013. Authorities kept the information hidden for fear of looters or artefacts robbers, he noted.
“The Yak Nang temple we have seen already, but we did not know about the Ou Preah temple,” he said. “We will contact the Ratanakkiri Provincial Department of Culture first, because we have also found a temple, Preah Puth temple, in Veun Sai district.”
“It may be the same temple, we need to investigate if that is the case.”