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Large statue unearthed at Cambodia's Angkor Wat

Archaeologists at Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex studying the site of a hospital from eight to nine centuries ago have found a large statue in their excavations.

The government agency that oversees the complex, the Apsara Authority, said on its website that the 1.9m (6ft 3in), 58cm (23in) wide statue was discovered on Sunday by its team, working with experts from Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

It is one of the largest statues from the era to be unearthed in recent years.

The agency said the statue, believed to be from the 12th or 13 century, is thought to have been a symbolic guardian of the entrance of the hospital.

It was found buried 40cm (16in) under the ground, and will be put on public exhibition in the museum in the north-western province of Siem Reap, where Angkor is located.

In late 2011, archaeologists at the temple complex unearthed the two largest Buddhist statues found there in eight decades.

Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to the 15th century.

Large numbers of architectural and religious artefacts have been looted from there and sold overseas, while others were buried for safekeeping during a civil war in the 1970s.

AP

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