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Ancient statue unearthed at Cambodia’s Angkor temple complex

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Archaeologists have unearthed a large, centuries-old statue that is believed to have once stood guard over an ancient hospital at Cambodia’s world-famous Angkor temple complex.

The nearly two-metre-tall artwork, which is thought to date from the late 12th to the early 13th century, was discovered during a dig on Saturday, said Long Kosal, a spokesman for Apsara Authority — the state agency charged with managing the complex.

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The new find is the most significant statue discovery at Angkor since two giant Buddha carvings were unearthed in 2011, he added.

The Angkor Archeological Park, a world heritage site, contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries, and is Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination.

At the height of its power the city and its hundreds of temples boasted more than a million inhabitants, making it one of the world’s most populous pre-industrial centres.

Huge swathes of the park have been excavated over the decades, creating a walkable archaeological wonder that attracts more than two million visitors a year.

But the complex continues to yield new finds.

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Cambodian archaeologists and experts from Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies found the statue buried 40 centimetres (16 inches) underground during an excavation of an Angkor-era hospital built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.

The Apsara agency said the sandstone statue’s arms and legs had broken off but the carving on the body and head remain beautiful despite the passage of time.

They said the statue was likely to have been a symbolic guardian of the hospital.

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Visitors to the Angkor complex encounter a dizzying array of temples, the earlier ones from when Hinduism was the dominant religion of the Khmer Empire and later ones after Buddhism had taken hold.

Archaeologists every year discover fresh data on the remarkable site. New recent research based on aerial laser scans has confirmed the existence of Mahendraparvata, an ancient temple city near Angkor Wat that has barely been excavated.

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Updated scans published last year have uncovered iron smelting sites and complex waterways as well as temple foundations that are still to be explored.

The same year archaeologists also uncovered the remains of a 42-foot-long boat from the Angkor era which had been carved from a single tree trunk.

Archaeologists are particularly excited by the discovery of Mahendraparvata because they believe much of what remains of the jungle-covered ancient city has not been looted.

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During French colonial rule and the brutal Khmer Rouge regime (1975-79) many of Cambodia’s most priceless statues and archaeological treasures were looted, including those from Angkor.

The Cambodian government has spent years trying to trace the missing items, some of which have since been returned from museums in Europe and the United States.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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MSNBC’s Mika shocked by Morning Joe’s withering criticism of House GOP: ‘I’ve never heard you accuse someone of that’

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MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski was astonished by her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough's denunciation of congressional Republicans.

The "Morning Joe" hosts agreed GOP attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who earned a Purple Heart fighting in the Iraq War, and other impeachment inquiry witnesses were shameful, but Scarborough went even further in his criticism.

"People talk about the time, 'It's a time we're in,' -- no, it's not," Scarborough said. "It's lack of character among people on these committees, just a lack of character and a lack of love of country that they put their political party above their country."

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Sewer campus escape bid by Hong Kong protesters ends in arrest

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Two pro-democracy protesters were arrested Wednesday as they emerged from a manhole on a Hong Kong road outside a besieged campus, in a thwarted escape bid from inside the university.

Two male protesters holed up in the campus for days were detained along with four people lowering ropes to help them out from the drainage system, police said.

They apparently crawled through fetid sewers to a manhole outside a housing estate around half a kilometre from city centre grounds of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), the scene of the dramatic siege by police.

The group were arrested for a range of offences including "taking part in a riot" and "assisting offenders", chief superintendent Ricky Ho told reporters late Wednesday.

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Sondland’s hotels are facing backlash over Trump ties: ‘Do you want to support him?’

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Gordon Sondland's efforts to shield President Donald Trump from accountability in the Ukraine scandal has been bad for his personal business.

The U.S. ambassador to the European Union has twice updated his closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry after other witnesses implicated him in the scheme, and social media users are venting their frustration against his hotel chain on Yelp, reported The Daily Beast.

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