There are thousands more killing fields just like the one we visited all over Cambodia. Many still havent been discovered as they are unreachable due to land being scattered with mines.
On entering the killing field we were first met with a 30m high built monument made out of smooth sandstone. On each of the 4 sides of the monument the walls were made of glass so you could view the contents within. Tiered on about 8 levels were glass shelves that contains the skulls and bones of over 8,000 bodies that have been recovered from the mass graves in this particular killing field. There are still many remains to be found as they have only excavated 80 of the 140 mass graves at this site. We were able to enter the monument which held the remains where quiet, gentle music echoed within.
Even though we were confronted with thousands of skulls we still found it hard to imagine them as people who once lived. On the first tier lay a huge pile of clothes that had been unearthed or come up through the ground when it rains, the most disturbing are the baby clothes. After spending a few moments in silence to reflect on what we were being confronted with, we began to explore the surrounding field. The field was scattered with holes probably not much bigger than a large 15m wide round trampoline and only a couple metres deep. Many were unmarked and blending with the scenery, it took us a while to understand that these as well as the marked graves had once been filled with bodies. A few graves had an information sign describing what was found. One had been found to contain women and children who were naked, one was found with over 100 headless bodies (they had been wearing the uniform of the countries previous army). The grave that contained 168 men was the biggest mass grave at this site. The most harrowing information board stood infront of a seemingly innocent and natural tree, however it turned out that the Khmer Rouge would swing the babies by their ankles smashing their skulls against the trees and tossing them into a nearby grave. Most of the killings were done by bludgoning as the bullets were precious and expensive.
The ground in this area was filled with poison so it could work to kill any victims who had not quite died yet and also to cover up the smell of rotting corpses in the vicinity.
A reminder of how recent this event was is all around the mass graves. As you walk around you think that their is rubbish on the floor, but on closer inspection it is actually the clothing of the dead. As you can see in our photo album I am able to lift the clothing up but some of it is still burried. We discovered that during heavy rainfall the water washes some of the mud away exposing more and more clothing, teeth and bones.
Of all the skulls that have been found, forensics tests have determined their rough age and cause of death. Though at this killing field as well as the others all over the Kingdom of Cambodia, many relatives and friends have no idea where their familes remains lie, they are alone and lost forever.