ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Cambodia (柬埔寨) have unearthed a large centuries-old statue of a turtle at the Angkor temple complex.
The 56-by-93 centimetre carved stone turtle, believed to date from the 10th century, was discovered on 6 May at a dig at the site of a small temple that had been built on Srah Srang, one of Angkor’s several reservoirs.
Researchers pinpointed where the temple had been and workers drained water away to enable the dig, which began 16 March, said Mao Sokny, head of the excavation team of the Apsara Authority, a government agency that oversees the Angkor archaeological site.
The bottom half of the turtle remains buried and preparations were being made to lift it out without damaging it.
Angkor was strongly influenced by Hindu culture, and as a result, when a temple or some other important structure was built, sacred objects would often be buried in the ground underneath as a gesture to ensure safety and good fortune. In several Asian cultures, turtles are seen as symbols of longevity and prosperity.
The dig also discovered some other rare artefacts, including two metal tridents and a carved head of a naga, a mythical creature.
The Angkor complex is Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction, as well as a Unesco World Heritage site and is included in the Cambodian flag.
It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, which stretches over some 400 square kilometres.
Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century, including the famous Temple of Angkor Wat (吳哥窟).
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 19 May 2020)
Angkor – Unesco