Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ancient turtle statue discovered

Ancient turtle statue discovered

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Experts said the turtle was involved in the preparation of spirit offerings at the Angkor Wat temple. Apsara National Authority

Ancient turtle statue discovered

APSARA National Authority (ANA) archaeologists have discovered a large statue of a turtle buried at the bottom of a pond in the Angkor Wat area.

Experts said the turtle was involved in the preparation of spirit offerings at the Angkor Wat temple foundation construction and offerings to Hindu deity Vishnu, but cannot specify the exact time.

Archaeologist Chea Socheat, the project director and the research leader, said on Thursday that the team of archaeologists had discovered a large turtle sculpture (yet unweighed) that is made of ancient sandstone.

There is no refinement to the decorative design, but the turtle shell has a rectangular lid as if there was something hidden in it.

He said the turtle statue was associated with the spirit offering festival during the construction of the Angkor Wat Temple foundation and was a Vishnu offering associated with the Sea of Milk churning ceremony.

The team has not yet opened the lid on the shell, and it is not known what treasures could be inside of it.

“In past discoveries at the Neak Pean temple, researchers found a similar turtle sculpture but it was smaller than this one.

“Inside of it, there were some precious and rare stones, bronze threads, and a cloth wrapped in a kind of grain associated with Vishnu rituals during that time,” Socheat said.

He said that since the March 27 excavation, the team had opened an 11m-by-14m pit. Initially, they found traces of soil scratches used to build the temple. Nearby, there was a trace of digging to make a drainage ditch.

Socheat said in the canal, a white crystal stone of a kind thought to be valuable in Vishnu rituals – was found. Later, the team found a dragon and tridents, but they were moved to the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum.

His team, he said, would continue to study the turtle to learn more about the sculpture and other artefacts. This research should provide evidence to better interpret the history and construction of Angkor temples.

ANA deputy director-general Kim Sothin said on Thursday that the team was successful in building a dam and pumping water from the excavation site, after which four architects were brought in to supervise the excavation.

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient artefacts and objects in the pond used in the daily lives of the ancient people, he said.

He said while the discovery of the ancient remains is significant, archaeologists have not yet been able to conclude the period of the objects or why they were placed there.

“The results will be clearer after the end of the research work. If there are no interruptions during the excavation, we expect to complete our work within six weeks from March 27,” Sothin said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Time to avert disastrous Covid situation: officials

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is heading towards further large-scale community transmission as the total number of confirmed cases is nearing 61,000 and the death toll passed 900 on July 10, senior health officials warned. Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine expressed concern that the country was going

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided