Sre Ampil Archaeological Project

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A team of young archaeologists from the Faculty of Archaeology at the Royal University of Fine Arts and from the Royal Academy of Cambodia initiated a yearlong project that combined: excavation, cultural resource management and the construction of a museum in order to preserve, document and disseminate information about the rich cultural heritage of the Sre Ampil site. The project was under the supervision of His Escellency Prof. Son Soubert and the team was headed by Project Director, Phon Kaseka, and Co-Project Directors, Phon Cheakosal and Phlong Pisith.

Sre Ampil village, located in Chheutil commune, Ken Svay district, Kandal province, has been identified as an archaeological site of note by such eminent scholars as George Cœdès and Etienne Aymonier. Sre Ampil is believed to have developed in the prehistoric period and may have continued to play a role throughout the Angkorian and post-Angkorian eras.

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This research provides a valuable opportunity to discover more about Cambodian history and to fill in crucial gaps in knowledge from an archaeological site outside of the Angkor Historical Park. Important archaeological objectives of this research project include: identifying Sre Ampil as an important historical site and increasing the body of knowledge about this site and its cultural history for scholars and the public in general. In addition, this project has important cultural management objectives, namely the active participation of the local community, which includes: transmitting the knowledge of Khmer culture and the value of this heritage to the local villagers, persuading the villagers who own archaeological objects from the site to store them in the museum and cooperating with involved institutions and stakeholders, such as the village chief, the head of the commune, students, lecturers and villagers to involve them in the maintenance of this important site.
In its mission to build the capacity of young Cambodians engaged in research, the Center for Khmer Studies is proud to have been the principal funder of this project. The Sre Ampil Archaeology Project is distinctive, not only in its aims of generating new scientific knowledge of pre-Angkor Cambodia, but also as an archaeological project conceived, supervised, managed and implemented entirely by Cambodians.

Findings

The results of Sre Ampil pottery analysis shows a relationship between the site and with Angkor Borei and Cheung Ek in different periods. Although C14 dating of the Sre Ampil site has not being done yet, the similarity of its pottery with that from Angkor Borei shows evidence of interaction (e.g. trade exchange) between those two sites. Pottery of the Sre Ampil site has its similarity with the pottery from Angkor Borei in the 3rd phase (dating was done by Mirriam Stark) which is dated from 3rd century to 6th century AD. Moreover spouts have been collected through the layers of the excavation. Collected spout is the type of Candi found at Angkor Borei. The fineware of the Sre Ampil is also similar in characteristic with the fineware from Angkor Borei. This site may have developed in between 3rd-6th century AD.

The Sre Ampil site also has interaction with Cheung Ek site. Surface collection and the upper layers consist of pottery originating from Cheung Ek site. Spatial factors clearly defined their relationship. These two sites could be reached by water transportation as the site could be accessible by the Lower Mekong and Bassac Rivers.