A team from the Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a gatekeeper statue’s foot fragment at the Tonle Snguot Temple, within a metre of the toe of a statue found in 2017.
ANA spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on Wednesday that the fragment was discovered by the temple repair team on January 13.
However, the art conservation and repair team announced the discovery on Monday after comparing the statue’s mould with the foot fragment to ascertain they were identical.
“According to the verification results, the Apsara National Authority preservation and repair team confirmed that the foot fragment was part of the temple gatekeeper’s statue.
“The foot fragment matched with that of the gatekeeper statue being repaired at the Angkor conservation site,” he said.
Kosal said three years ago, the temple team found the statues of the gatekeeper, its torso, and fragments of a hand and the gatekeeper’s legs. They were taken to the Angkor conservation site.
The ANA experts have been repairing the moat on the bank of the Angkor Wat on the north side of the Hal Bridge for eight years, said the ANA website on Monday.
ANA’s Department of Temple Conservation technical official Mao Sokny said the renovations were aimed at enhancing the scenic beauty of Angkor Wat’s moat and enhancing the bank of Angkor Wat itself.
“There are several factors that contribute to structural damage, including age, a mound of termites and the lack of routine maintenance.
“The lower foundation of the laterite soil could also be decayed, the big trees growing near the bank could be rooted in rocks which cause them [the rocks] to move from the original position at the bank,” he said.
Sokny said during the renovation, experts used the traditional technique of removing the old soil and replacing it. They then fill the lower foundation with mountain rocks, sand, soil mixture, laterite rubble, and lime.
The foundation is lined with long, wide rocks to help withstand pressure while the clay is used to prevent water from reaching the bottom so that the foundation stays strong and long-lasting.
In the past, international partners such as France, India, and Italy have repaired the bank of Angkor Wat’s moat, staircase, and the entrance to the temple.
They have also assisted and trained many Apsara National Authority experts in the conservation of this ancient structure.