Archaeology Magazine

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Massive Bronze Workshop Found Near Angkor Thom

Friday, March 11, 2016

Cambodia bronze crucible PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—A large bronze workshop discovered next to the ancient royal palace of Angkor Thom may establish where large sculptures found in the area were produced. The significance of the site was recognized in 2012, and the first comprehensive report on it has now been published. The workshop was discovered by chance when archaeologists were excavating what they thought was a stone workshop. They found partially finished bronze sculptures, large furnaces, metal fragments, and crucibles that could hold a half-gallon of molten bronze. Radiocarbon dating has found that the workshop was in use from the eleventh to twelfth century, the height of Angkor civilization under King Jayavarman VII. “We’ve demonstrated that there is a centralized workshop with very large-scale production,” Martin Polkinghorne of Flinders University told The Phnom Penh Post. The discovery of the large-scale workshop overturns the assumption that bronze sculptures were created in the same locations where they were displayed. In addition, the fact that the workshop is so close to Angkor Thom suggests it was overseen by elites. For more, go to “Remapping the Khmer Empire,” one of ARCHAEOLOGY’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2013.

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