The chief monk of a pagoda in Pursat province has presented three artefacts to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeung Sakona.

The three rare items – one of which is estimated to be up to 1,000 years old – will be restored and displayed at the National Museum.

The artefacts were kept at the Preah Horst Kbal Pagoda, but will now be displayed so the public can enjoy and learn from them.

The items include a large clay jar and a water pot from the Angkorian period, as well as a French-colonial era sword, said a ministry social media post.

The pagoda chief monk, Say Chivoan, personally presented them to Sakona.

He explained that the large jar was especially unique, as both its brown colour and shape were of a type that had not been seen before.

“By analysing the shape, the material, the decorations and the smooth polish, specialists conclude that this piece was made during the Angkorian period, likely between the 12th and 13th centuries. They are still continuing to investigate the piece, in order to determine its precise purpose,” he said.

He added that the water pot/jar dated from the 9th or 10th century. It was a type of hard ceramic without a smooth polish that is often found within the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The French era- sword, manufactured between 1863 and 1940, was discovered on the pagoda grounds about a decade ago, he continued.

After inspecting the three artefacts, Sakona instructed that they be kept at the National Museum of Cambodia, located near the Royal Palace in the capital’s Daun Penh district, for preservation and display. This way, domestic and international guests will gain a deeper understanding of the richness of the Kingdom’s cultural heritage, which goes further than what they learn from statues and temples.

“These items will become part of the presentation of the context of the history and evolution of Khmer civilisation, from the Angkorian period to the French colonial era. They will be exhibited to the National Museum for the common good of the nation,” she said.

Chhit Bunthong, director of Cultural Relations, Education and Tourism at the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, considers the future display of the items an excellent accomplishment, as they each hold historical and cultural value.

“The fact that future generations will learn about the achievements of our ancient ancestors should be a source of pride to all Cambodians,” he said.

He suggested that the ministry identify other areas that are rich in historical artefacts, in order to attract more tourists.