Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Itching to see for myself

A ruined temple wall at Prasat Trapeang Preus, near Phnom Chi. An example of what you may or may not find on your temple-hunting adventures.
Stories of ancient temples from the Angkorean period being uncovered grab my interest immediately, so the story in today's Cambodia Daily that soldiers have found previously unknown temple ruins near to the Ta Muen temples, on the border with Thailand, have me itching to get out there and see them for myself. The temple, known as Prasat Dai Kei, is about 1km from the Thai border and close to Prasat Ta Muen, which is still the scene of disputed ownership between Cambodian and Thai authorities. After receiving information from local villagers, the army located some brick foundations with two walls, two wells and the remains of another five small sites nearby. The Ministry of Culture belives the ruins are from the 11th century and reckons there are more temples waiting to be found along the border. The likelihood of course is that these sites will almost certainly offer up just scattered brick ruins and holes in the ground as a result of scavenging and pillaging in the last 20-30 years by either military or temple robbers. I've seen this time and again where remote ruins are concerned and if you can spot a sandstone doorframe or pedestal in the undergrowth, then you can count yourself lucky. It was in the same northwest region that large sections of the main Banteay Chhmar temple were dismantled by a team of robbers, allegedly soldiers, and shipped over the border and into nearby Thailand about a decade ago.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy, I have a feelings that there are more hidden ancient Khmer temples to be discovered along the old, fabled, royal road to
Angkor. I think archeologists ought to look into this ancient roadway as it's probably was one of major ancient Khmer highways that criss-crossed the vast ancient Khmer empire during its golden era. I'm not a bit surprised at any new rediscovery in Cambodia.

July 22, 2009 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

I hope you are right that more temples are awaiting discovery. I'm not so sure as much work has already been done in the past by the French EFEO team and the Cambodian authorities to log and plot the position of thousands of temple sites across Cambodia, many of which are now almost non-existent.
The royal roads across cambodia and into Thailand have been studied both on the ground and from the air, but you may be right that more temples await discovery. Isn't it wonderful that even today, more temples are being found that demonstrate what incredible builders the Khmers were. I marvel at their ability and try to picture in my mind how much effort went into building a temple, every time I find one.
Andy

July 22, 2009 at 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Andy! This is off topic but are there any studies on the ancient temples of Sambor prei kuk! I believe this ancient city is also a big site to be studied!

July 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Yes there have been studies done on Sambor Prei Kuk in the past by EFEO and Sophia University, and the site is currently being further excavated and studied by Japanese experts from Waseda University I recall when I was last there.
Andy

July 23, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Re sambor Prei Kuk...
Also visit this website:
http://steel.ced.berkeley.edu/research/sambor/

July 23, 2009 at 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy, I just watch the new National Geographic of Secrets of Angkor and they said that Angkor is 390 square miles and I was like whattt!! I thought it was bigger than that! Did they only include only the temples in Angkor park? I thought it was about 1,000 square miles!

July 26, 2009 at 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
do you consider yourself an "old Cambodia hand"? Love your blog - Birgitte

July 27, 2009 at 12:47 AM  

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