ANA finds temple remains

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ANA uncovered an old French-style building while excavating the area around the Lo Lai temple. Apsara National Authority

The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has uncovered remnants of an old French-style building while excavating the area around the Lo Lai temple in Prasat Bakong commune, Prasat Bakong district, in Siem Reap province.

ANA expert Ea Darith said that the excavation had been underway for one week, and they had just started digging holes and studying the temple’s surrounding environment when they came across the French ruins.

Darith said for work to continue, the old remnants had to be excavated.

“This is an obstacle because the old French structure was built in the same place as the temple, which requires us to first remove the old concrete on the top of the land, so we can study our findings,” he said.

According to a Facebook post by ANA on Monday, the excavations began in mid-March.

“The Lo Lai temple, built by Yasovarman I in the late 9th century, was built to honour Lord Shiva,” the ANA said.

Over the centuries, climate factors ravaged the temple, rendering it a shell of its former self. The aim of the project is to restore the temple to as close to its original structure as possible.

Tho Thon, an archaeologist at the Department of Conservation in Angkor Archeological Park, said experts must excavate areas to put together a picture of how the temple actually looked when it was first built. Thon said the excavation period would last until April.

“We are remodelling the temple to raise its value. The excavation is looking for structures which could help show how exactly it was oriented. Once we learn that, we can continue,” he said.

Darith said excavators have identified the walls surrounding the temple, its flooring and the fence around it.