A man strolling in the jungle has found a 1,500-year-old statue of a legendary sea creature carved into a large rock.
According to local media, craftsman Chhim Samrithy, 38, found the statue of Makara, a legendary sea-creature in Hindu mythology, in the Phnom Kulen National Park in the district of Svay Leu located in the north-western Cambodian province of Siem Reap.
Provincial environment director Sun Kong confirmed the discovery and said that Samrithy found the head portion of the broken statue on 18th January.
Experts visited the site the next day and said the statue was made in the sixth century from sandstone.
They reportedly collected 13 sections of the statue’s body from around the site.
Kong said: “According to the experts, this Makara statue is one that we have not seen before. It is approximately 2.14 metres in length and about 0.97 metres high.
“We haven’t yet moved the body parts or excavated the head from the scene and we instructed park rangers in the area to guard it.”
He added that a team of specialists will reconstruct the pieces and study them in detail soon.
According to Kong, archaeologists did not find the foundations for a temple in the area and it is believed the statue was simply carved out of a large rock.
Samrithy, who discovered the statue, told local media: “I usually walk in the forest to look for some unique and sacred objects and suddenly spotted this rare statue.
“After finding it, I took environmental officials and archaeologists to the site and also helped to find some of the statue’s missing pieces.”
The local authorities said in a statement: “The Phnom Kulen National Park is rich in ancient artefacts, both above and below the ground.
“Therefore, I urge people, especially those living in the area, to avoid excavating or clearing archaeological sites. If they find ancient objects, please report it to the authorities for research to be done to preserve them for future generations.”
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