Looting under houses

Farmiliy looting

Dong Son drum, looted

New Iron Age Cemetery discovered, immediately looted

In March 2007, villagers of Prohear in southeast Cambodia, Prey Veng Province, discovered around their farm houses the ancient burials containing valuable objects. They immediately started to dig the site and heavy looting activities started in April.  The unearthed burial offerings included golden ornaments, small Dong Son bronze drums, bronze and iron weapons, beads of glass and semi-precious stones etc. The loot is immediately sold to middleman, who frequented the village without delay.


A first visit of the Memot Centre team in May could not stop any of the looting. The Prohear cemetery burial site is extremely important not only for Cambodia, but also for Southeast Asia. To protect the site, measurements were taken to build up a cooperation project between the MCA, under the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin. It is planned to start fieldwork at the end of this year and save as much as possible of the site. Besides that, it is necessary to educate the villagers to understand the value of their own National Heritage. It is a long way, but finally they should realize that it is their duty to safeguard the site.

Bronze armring?

Golden earring

Golden fingering

Iron Bracelet from Village 10.8

Iron Dagger from Village 10.8

Restoration Lab

Under the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and with support of German institutions, the Memot Centre is establishing a laboratory unit for metal restoration in the compound of the Ministry in Phnom Penh. We cooperate with the “Werkstaetten” of the RGZM (Roemisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, www.rgzm.de) in Mainz, Germany, where two of our members were already trained. Mrs. Seng Sonetra will stay again in Mainz for five month next year to get more experience.

The Metal Restoration Laboratory will start with the restoration and conservation of the numerous iron and bronze arms and jewellery from the Iron Age burial site of Village 10.8. In the future the laboratory should serve for metal artefacts from all over Cambodia.

Training of students and staff in different restoration techniques in the laboratory should also start next year. The aim is to produce more independence of archaeological research in Cambodia.

Four Bronze Bracelets inside each other from Village 10.8

Iron Lance Head from Village 10.8...


...and Part of Backside with Traces of Fabric and Organic Binding