ISEAS’ Archaeology Unit part of team to discover 6-foot-tall guardian at Angkor Wat

An ancient guardian statue was recovered at the Tonle Snguot hospital site north of Angkor Thom by the APSARA Authority and Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Nalanda – Sriwijaya Centre (NSC) Archaeological Field School team. 

This is a unique find because the statue is almost complete. It is a late 12th century sandstone statue and measures approximately two meters in height. The statue belongs to the famed Bayon style. Bayon style is associated with King Jayavarman VII. It was recovered on the second day of research by the archaeology team (29 July 2017) after being identified by APSARA archaeologists working with the NSC Field School. 

There are often two guardian statues (or carved images) depicted in front of ancient temples. Although Jayavarman VII was a Buddhist, the statues are usually associated with both ancient Buddhism and Brahmanism (Hindu) in Cambodian temples. The archaeology team was there to investigate ancient hospital activities, habitation and structures. There is often a temple that likely served for spiritual healing and praying area. The treatment area is possibly a separate location in the complex. Medical treatment is depicted on the stone carvings at the Bayon temple. Ancient inscriptions also describe the nurses, doctors, guards, cooks and other people. 

The statue will be transported to the Preah Norodom Sihanouk Angkor Museum because of its importance. This was in collaboration with the APSARA Heritage Police and local community authorities. 

ISEAS was at the site conducting its Archaeology Field School. The Field School brings students and young professionals from East Asia Summit countries together for multi-disciplinary training and research. Archaeology and art history are the main focus.

The NSC Archaeology Unit at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute was formed in 2010 and inaugurated by the late President SR Nathan in August 2011.  

Congratulations to our team from the NSC Archaeological Field School!

Media Coverage:

The Daily Mail, 31 July 2017: The six foot tall guardian of Angkor Wat: Archaeologists unearth a giant buried statue at the site of an ancient hospital at the temple complex, 31 July 2017: Archaeologists at Angkor Wat find large buried statue

The Malaysia Insight, 1 August 2017: Centuries-old statue unearthed at Angkor

The Straits Times, 1 August 2017: Cambodia and Singapore archaeologists unearth ancient statue at Angkor complex; Still beautiful after all these centuries: Statue found at Angkor Wat

The Phnom Penh Post, 1 August 2017: Ancient ‘guardian’ unearthed in Siem Reap 

The Cambodia Daily, 1 August 2017: For Archaeologists, a Dream Find at Angkor Park, 1 August 2017: Ancient statue unearthed in Cambodia

Belfast Telegraph Digital, 1 August 2017: Large statue unearthed at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat

Gizmodo, 1 August 2017: Magnificent Sandstone Statue Uncovered Near Legendary Cambodian Temple

TRTWorld, 1 August 2017: Ancient statue unearthed at Cambodia’s Angkor complex

National Geographic, 1 August 2017: Ancient, Six-Foot Statue Found Near Angkor Wat

The Statesman, 1 August 2017: Large ancient statue found at Angkor complex

Newburgh Gazette, 1 August 2017: Ancient statue unearthed at Cambodia’s Angkor temple complex Newburgh Gazette

Vietnam Plus, 1 August 2017: Large ancient statue unearthed in Cambodia’s Angkor complex

The MiceTimes of Asia, 1 August 2017: Archaeologists have discovered a unique statue-a security guard at Angkor

The Metro, 1 August 2017: 900-year-old ‘guardian’ statue unearthed at Cambodian temple

The Guardian, 1 August 2017: Ancient statue unearthed at Cambodia’s Angkor temple complex, 1 August 2017: Archeologists find large ancient statue at Cambodia’s Angkor complex

Channel Newsasia, 2 August 2017: Ancient statue unearthed at Cambodia’s Angkor complex

The Straits Times, 2 August 2017: How Singapore team uncovered ancient guardian statue in Angkor Wat

Borneo Bulletin, 2 August 2017: Ancient statue unearthed at Cambodia’s Angkor complex

The Cambodia Daily, 11 August 2017: After Incredible Finds, Angkor Archaeologists Wrap Up Dig

Updated 11 August 2017