Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Farmer discovers mystery stone tablet in Anlong Veng

Farmer discovers mystery stone tablet in Anlong Veng

Officials inspect a stone tablet found in Anlong Veng on Friday that bears inscriptions of an unknown Khmer King's royal directive. Supplied
Officials inspect a stone tablet found in Anlong Veng on Friday that bears inscriptions of an unknown Khmer King's royal directive. Supplied

Farmer discovers mystery stone tablet in Anlong Veng

Historians and archaeologists are working to determine the origin and significance of a stone tablet appearing to bear the inscription of a Khmer King's royal directive that a farmer found last week in an Oddar Meanchey cassava field.

The farmer, identified only as Ngich, reportedly found the object while digging up rows of cassava in his field near Romchek village, according to the Ministry of Culture's Heritage Department Director General Prak Sonnara.

"This is a very important discovery for our nation,” Sonnara said. “As far as I have known, this is the first tablet to be found in the area."

On Monday, department officials studied the tablet – which is now at the provincial culture office – to determine its origins.

“We do not know yet whether it is a new inscription that has been found or an existing one… which would mean it was stolen,” Sonnara said.

Vong Sotheara, a professor of history at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and a specialist in stone inscriptions, said the tablet bears an ancient form of Khmer seen as early as the 7th century. The part that is legible refers to offering land to the Gods, though the meaning is currently unclear.

“Although the king’s name and the year are illegible, I believe that the inscription is from the reign of King Jayavarman V," who ruled from 968–1001, he said.

Despite the presence of ancient temple ruins in Anlong Veng, Sotheara’s first hypothesis is that the tablet was transported from Banteay Srei, a temple in the Angkor Archaeological Park built by King Jayavarman V, based on similarities to inscriptions found there, as well as descriptions in the text that appear to refer to the area.

“Some thief may have buried the tablet in the place where it was found last week, planning to bring it to sell in Thailand,” Sotheara said.

Until researchers carry out a thorough study, including of the area where the tablet was found and nearby temples, no conclusion can be made, he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • NagaWorld protest part of ‘conspiracy’

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court and police held a joint-press conference on January 4 to clarify details concerning the arrest of nine former employees of the integrated resort NagaWorld and the charges brought against them, saying that the authorities had clear grounds for taking legal action.