'Skull map' of killing fields is laid to rest

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An iconic map of Cambodia made from the skulls of some 300 victims of the Khmer Rouge was dismantled in Phnom Penh, the capital, yesterday.

Over the past 20 years, hundreds of thousands have viewed the wall installation at the Tuol Sleng museum – a testament to Pol Pot's Maoist regime, which killed an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979.

Buddhist monks chanted as the skulls, which had started to decay and were in danger of falling from their wire mounts, were taken down. The museum's director, Chey Sophearith, said: "We want to preserve them in a decent place."

The map will be replaced with another marking the mass graves and prisons of the "killing fields". A Buddhist shrine will also be built.

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