The Khmer Rouge forbade the conduct of any funeral rites at the time of the death of the
estimated two million people who perished during their rule (1975–79). Since then,
however, memorials have been erected and commemorative ceremonies performed, both public
and private, especially at former execution sites, known widely as the killing fields. The
physical remains themselves, as well as images of skulls and the haunting photographs of
prisoners destined for execution, have come to serve as iconic representations of that
tragic period in Cambodian history and have been deployed in contested interpretations of
the regime and its overthrow.