Khmer Script Evolved
By: Srey Mom ( May, 2003 Volume 3 No.5 )

Only the people who live to tell it can report the true story of a country's past. But with the passage of time, oral histories fade into legend, leaving behind more questions than written accounts.
Cambodia's rich historical culture speaks volumes. Khmer Script development is one among the interesting stories that Leisure wants to tell readers how its character and features is changed from one period to another.
Our Khmer forebears recorded information for future generations on animal skins using fried chalk. These documents could not withstand the hunger of starving insects like termites, however, so historians had to seek new methods to record their findings. Rock and stone proved to be an effective replacement for the chalk, and the results have been everlasting.
According to documents recorded in rock, it can be surmised that Khmer script has evolved ten times and is characterized by the following features, names and years:

  • Type 1: Han Chey writing rock script, approximately 6th century BC
  • Type 2: Veal Kan Teng writing rock script, end of the 6th or early 7th century BC
  • Type 3: Ang Chomney Kor writing rock script, 667 BC
  • Type 4: Inn Kor Sey writing rock script, 970 BC
  • Type 5: Preash Keo writing rock script, 1002 BC
  • Type 6: Nor Korr writing rock script, 1066 BC
  • Type 7: Banteay Chmar writing rock script, early 12th or 13th century BC
  • Type 8: Angkor Watt writing rock script, 13th century BC.
  • Type 9: Angkor script, 1702 BC
  • Type 10: the present script style

While rocks may appear to be primitive, outdated tools, it is these blunt objects that have shed the most light on Cambodia's past. These writing tools provided past generations with immediate instructions on how to survive and will offer future generations a perspective on what and who made their country what it is today. Without the rock script, Cambodia's culture, traditions and literature could easily have morphed into myth. Now, the writing of history depends on commitment of future generations to report the truth.