Circular Earthwork Site Destroyed

Thanks to Kent Davis for reporting on this issue:

A circular earthwork site in Samrong Village in  Memot district in Cambodia  was destroyed by the Memot Rubber Plantation to building housing for their workers. They did not seek permission to destroy this site and it happened too quickly for archaeologists to intervene.

Photo by Heng Sophady, via Kent Davis

These situations are very frustrating.  There is almost no recourse that can be taken and the destruction of the site makes salvage excavations nearly impossible.  Archaeologists in Cambodia deal with these kinds of situations all too frequently.  In a growing country like Cambodia, development will always win over archaeological research and the pursuit of knowledge.  It is a deeply shortsighted philosophy and more people in Cambodia should be outraged.  In the US, a letter-writing and email campaign (plus bad press) would help shame a company into doing the right thing. Somehow I don’t think the same thing would work in Cambodia.


I wrote about circular earthwork sites in Memot here.

I wrote about visiting the Memot Center and a circular earthwork site here.

2 responses to “Circular Earthwork Site Destroyed

  1. There was at least one example of an above-ground stone temple being destroyed by expanding rubber plantations (warning, there’s coarse language in the link reporting part of the story, below).

    “Angkanh villagers indicated that five temples dating several centuries old are spread in deep forest that the government granted as land concession to a rubber plantation company. Some of the five temples have been destroyed through land clearing last year.”

    Hm… I think that, too, was not the only story of its kind in 2009 (a big year for the rubber industry in Cambodia). When intact above-ground structures are so little respected, you can’t expect much advocacy for scattered underground remains.

    For a concise history of the rubber industry in Cambodia, cf.


  2. This is extremely sad! 😦 Thanks so much for sharing this though!