As Cambodia’s famous historical sites like Unesco-protected Angkor Wat thrive, others are neglected, with tourism industry the biggest loser

Despite government assurances, ancient sites across Cambodia are under threat from developers, just as the country is restarting its important tourism sector.

When archeologists arrived in the village of Srok Chek – which is within sight of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh – more than 20 years ago, they sought help in excavating parts of the strange circular area that encased the community’s dry season rice fields.

Ek Dara (not his real name) was eager to assist; not only did he want to learn more about what had long confused him and his fellow villagers, but the small income would supplement his subsistence existence as a fisherman and farmer.

“We found old pots, pottery and other items that [the archeologists] took with them to the National Museum [in Phnom Penh],” says Ek Dara, who fears his comments would have negative consequences for his family if he were to use his real name.

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