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Ancient statue unearthed at Cambodia's Angkor temple complex

Archaeologists have unearthed two-metre high, centuries-old statue, thought to be a symbolic entrance guardian, during an excavation of an ancient hospital

1 August 2017, 8:07am
Archaeologists excavate a statue believed to have once stood guard over an ancient hospital at Cambodia’s famed Angkor temple complex
Archaeologists excavate a statue believed to have once stood guard over an ancient hospital at Cambodia’s famed Angkor temple complex
Archaeologists have unearthed a large, centuries-old statue that is believed to have once stood guard over an ancient hospital at Cambodia’s famed Angkor temple complex.

The government agency that oversees the complex, the Apsara Authority, said on its website that the statue measuring two metres in height and 23 inches in width was discovered on Sunday by its team, working with experts from Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

It is thought to be from the late 12th to the early 13th century and is one of the largest statues from the era to be unearthed in recent years.

The agency said the statue is thought to have been a symbolic guardian of the entrance of the hospital. Cambodian archaeologists and experts found the statue buried 40 centimetres under the ground during an excavation of an Angkor-era hospital built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.

The statue will be put on public exhibition in the museum in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, where Angkor is located.

The Angkor Archeological Park, a world heritage site, contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries, and is Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination.

At the height of its power the city and its hundreds of temples boasted more than a million inhabitants, making it one of the world’s most populous pre-industrial centres.

Huge swathes of the park have been excavated over the decades, creating a walkable archaeological wonder that attracts more than two million visitors a year.