Monday, May 10, 2010
The main ledge at Peang Boran has five large burial jars still in place, believed to be 500 years oldCall them what you will - burial jars, body jars, funerary jars - the clay and earthenware jars that were the focus of our expedition by moto in Chi Phat are still something of a unique mystery waiting to be solved though experts already know that several of these sites exist in the Cardamom region and the one we visited at Peang Boran is probably the easiest one to gain access to. The skulls and bones found in the jars, alongwith glass beads and copper ornaments, have been carbon-dated to around 500 years old and come from the mountain tribes that used to live in the area at that time. Fanciful stories abound that the remains belong to Khmer Loeu heroes and royalty but other artifacts that would support such theories have long been looted and removed from the sites. Much more work is needed before the origin of the jars and their contents can be determined with certainty. A National Geographic television documentary, Riddles of the Dead, exposed the existence of these jars to a wider audience a few years ago. At Peang Boran we also found some tiny wooden coffins on a rock shelf, both the wooden coffins and the burial jars were on natural ledges in the rockface that required wooden ladders to get close to them. Behind the coffins was a very dark cave full of bats and the overwhelming stench of their guano.