Friday, September 20, 2013

Jars and adventure

Peang Boran has five large burial jars still in place
Interesting conversations in recent days. Firstly, Nancy Beavan, aka the Jar Lady, gave a presentation at the CKS offices yesterday evening on her research and study of jar burials in the Cardamom Mountains. Unlike anything else seen in the region, these secondary burials have intrigued Nancy for many years and to-date she has radiocarbon dated them to between the 14th and 17th centuries, at ten sites scattered amongst the Cardamoms. There's little doubt there are more of these precarious cliff-ledge burial sites waiting to be discovered in the remote jungle of that area and she's off on another conservation archaeology expedition pretty soon. The jars themselves came from kiln sites in Thailand but as for the people who were involved in this unusual practice of jar and coffin burials, very little is known. I've already visited the Peang Boran jar site near Chiphat on a couple of occasions and I hope to get to the more extensive Phnom Khnorng Perng site, by helicopter, next month.

Next up was Toby Eastoe of Conservation International, who came in for a chat. They have a conservation program in the Cardamom Mountains at Thmar Bang which sounds like excellent eco-tourism material for the intrepid adventurer and includes trekking, waterfalls, rivers, crocodiles, gibbons and more, if you are heading up that way. He also confirmed that the road from Koh Kong to Pursat - through the Cardamoms via Ou Som - is very good through the dry season for all vehicles and doable in wet season in a 4WD. Previously it was only possible for seasoned motorbikers but now is open for all.  And there was news that pretty soon, if not already, a new military-built road will take you from Koh Kong, along the border with Thailand and up to Battambang province, finally opening up that route. CI also have their own gibbon project at Veun Sai-Siem Pang in Ratanakiri, which I visited myself in April 2012.

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