Perched in some cases on precarious cliff ledges, centuries-old log coffins—such as this one, pictured alongside researcher Nancy Beavan—and “body jars” are the only known traces of an unknown Cambodian tribe. Now new dating studies are beginning to assure the unnamed culture a place in history.
Ten such burial spots have been found in the Cardamom Mountainssince 2003, and none are lower than about 50 stories—the intention apparently being that “anyone trying to disturb the burials would break their neck,” said Beavan, who led the new study.
Skulls and other human bones poke from large ceramic jars at Khnorng Sroal, one of the newly dated mountainside burials in southwestern Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains.
Hewn from tree trunks some 700 years ago, several log coffins are pictured lined up like ramshackle piano keys beneath a rock overhang at the Phnom Pel burial site in Cambodia in 2010.
Human bones lie inside a log coffin at Phnom Pel. Read more.
Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand working in remote Cambodian mountains are shedding new light on the lost history of an unidentified people by studying their enigmatic burial rituals.
The Otago researchers have now provided the first radiocarbon dates for unusual jar and log coffin interments on exposed ledges high in southern Cambodia’s rugged Cardamom Mountains. Since 2003, they have been working to geo-locate and survey 10 interment sites and to date these using samples of coffin wood, tooth enamel and bone.
With colleagues from Cambodia, Australia, USA and Scotland, Drs Nancy Beavan and Sian Halcrow of the Department of Anatomy have just published the dating of four sites in the journal Radiocarbon. These reveal that the mysterious funerary rituals, which are unlike any other recorded in Cambodia, were practiced from at least 1395AD to 1650AD.
Dr Beavan, who is currently in Cambodia, says that this period coincides with the decline and fall of the powerful Kingdom of Angkor, which was seated in the lowlands. Read more.
SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AFP) - It has taken half a century, but archaeologists in Cambodia have finally completed the renovation of an ancient Angkor temple described as the world’s largest three dimensional puzzle.
The restoration of the 11th-century Baphuon ruin is the result of decades of painstaking work, hampered by tropical rains and civil war, to take apart hundreds of thousands of sandstone blocks and piece them back together again.
“When I first saw how devastated the monument was, I never thought we would be able to put it back together,” said Cambodian restorer Ieng Te, who joined the project as a young student in 1960 and was tasked with numbering stones.
“I am so happy and excited that we were able to rebuild our historic temple,” the now 66-year-old said as he oversaw the final construction activities at the site.
On a recent rainy morning workers were adding a final layer of paint to newly-installed wooden staircases at Baphuon, one of the country’s biggest temples after Angkor Wat, the largest structure in the famed Angkor complex. Read more.