October 6, 2022

APSARA National Authority Excavates Platform of Shiva linga on Phnom Bok to Restore Ancient Structure

The restoration team from the Department of Conservation of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology of the APSARA National Authority is excavating the platform of a large Shiva linga on Phnom Bok to restore the ancient structure, said the authority in a news release this morning.

Currently, the source continued, the team is excavating and researching the structure before proceeding to the restoration plan of this archeological site.

Mr. Hour Sothoun, an archaeologist of the APSARA National Authority, said that the excavation started in early August 2022 and the research project will be completed by the end of September 2022.

He added that the ancient platform of Shiva linga is made of laterite, 19 metres long, 20 metres wide, and 3.5 metres high. On the laterite platform, there is a long sandstone pedestal, which is 5.2 metres square for holding the Shiva linga with a diameter of more than 1 metre and a length of 4.2 metres.

Today, however, the sandstone pedestal is almost 90 percent damaged, and the Shiva linga is severely damaged from the bottom to the top, breaking into several pieces. Mr. Hour Sothon concluded that the serious damage may have been caused by the bombing because the oldest French photographs taken during the French period show that this Shiva linga is as fragile as they are today. Later, the laterite was damaged by the ages and the stones fell in some corners, and the tree roots penetrated the stones due to lack of maintenance.

The archaeologist said that the team excavated the structure of this Shiva linga in the past and found many pieces of tiles and roof decorations that can confirm that there was a structure that was originally made of wood and tiles covering the linga. The team is studying techniques to restore this huge Shiva linga, but the site is located on a hill, difficult to transport any material, the stone also weighs tonnes, which can make it difficult for manpower to move to restore and so on.

There are no inscriptions or documents confirming the date of this huge Shiva linga on Phnom Bok, but according to the art style on the pedestal, it can be concluded that it would be built in the 10th century during the reign of King Yasovarman I, pointed out the news release.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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