Last Wednesday, archaeologists conducting excavations at the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia unearthed a large stone turtle statue thought to date to the tenth century A.D., reports Sopheng Cheang for the Associated Press. The sculpture is one of several rare artifacts recovered from the temporarily drained Srah Srang reservoir since work began in mid-March.
According to China’s Xinhua news agency, researchers found the sandstone turtle while excavating the site of a small temple that once stood on an artificial island in the middle of the reservoir. After the team determined the temple’s location earlier this year, workers lowered the reservoir’s water level enough to allow the dig to commence, Mao Sokny, an archaeologist with the Aspara Authority, which oversees the temple complex, tells the AP.
The turtle is 23 inches wide and 37 inches long, according to the AP. Its shell is blank aside from a square etched in its center, Chea Socheat, director of the excavation project, tells the Khmer Times’ Pech Sotheary.
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