Ancient Tree Brings Hope of More Rainfall

A 32-meter-long tree trunk, believed to date to the 11th century, was recently discovered buried in a dry lake bed in Kompong Chhnang province and has been en­shrined at a pagoda in Kom­pong Leng district, officials said Mon­day.

Villagers living in Da commune’s Samroang Sen village discovered the tree, along with some human bones, on May 11 af­ter an ap­parent premonition by a local for­­tuneteller.

“According to the soil layer of the pole and the human remains we found, it could be from 11th century,” said Sok Thourk, director of Kompong Chhnang provincial Fine Arts and Culture Department.

Some believe the tree may have been used as a “flag pole” for an­cient troop movements. A large stone believed to have been used as support for the tree was also discovered, Sok Thourk said.                                    Archaeologists from the Min­is­try of Fine Arts and Culture are ex­pecting to determine the exact age of the tree next week, he said.

Elderly people in the commune had spoken for generations of a flag pole submerged in “Boeng Dang Tong,” or Flag Pole Lake, said Chhay Pom, 56, a local villager who had discussed the story with a 102-year-old villager.

The 100-by-35-meter lake dried up for the first time in known me­m­ory last month and the excavation was prompted by a local fortuneteller who reported that if the flag pole was retrieved from be­neath the mud and kept in a pagoda, it would encourage more rainfall, Chhay Pom said.

About 400 people held a ceremony on Sunday night and then transported the tree by bamboo raft to Sam­roang Sen pagoda, about 6 km from where it was found.

“I believe our village will no lon­ger face drought,” Chhay Pom said.



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