Category Archives: Archaeology

Mandalay restores stone plaques

inside-no-213TR Weekly
November 23, 2015 by Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit

MANDALAY, 23 November 2015: Myanmar Ministry of Culture’s Archaeology and National Museum is collaborating with Sydney University’s Buddhist Studies Programme in Australia to restore stone inscriptions at Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay.

Global New Light of Myanmar reported the collaboration started since the beginning of the year.

According to Archaeology and National Museum’s Mandalay branch, technicians and experts are undertaking preservation works of stone plaques and pagodas, taking photo records, translating stone inscriptions from Pali-Myanmar to English and publishing academic articles about the stones and inscriptions.
Translation and publishing are being carried out by Sydney University.

The stone plaques depict Myanmar as it was in the 19th century as well as cultural aspects related to the Buddhist faith.

Kuthodaw Pagoda (also known as Maha Lawkamarazein Pagoda) was built by King Mindon in 1859. The pagoda, enclosed by high walls, was a repository for 729 stone plaques on Buddhist Pitaka.

The Buddhist stupa lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill contains the world’s largest book.

In 2013, the stone plaques from Kuthodaw Pagoda were included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.


Crumbling archaeological site in Swat needs govt’s attention

564e3e3358a19FAZAL KHALIQ — PUBLISHED NOV 20, 2015 06:40AM
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2015

MINGORA: Lying at the foot of a narrow vale, the Tokar-Dara stupa, a first century Buddhist monument, is crumbling down and needs immediate attention of the government and archaeology department.

Nestled against the foot of two mountains, Tokar-Dara valley is about five kilometres away from the city of Barikot, formerly known as Bazira, to the south in Najigram valley.

The Buddhist complex belonging to the first and third century AD, according to archaeologists, were constructed when Buddhism was at its peak in Uddiyana.

Experts say Tokar-Dara stupa was built when Buddhism was at its peak in Uddiyana

Robbed by antique dealers and smugglers, the site is one of the beautiful ancient sites in Swat, encompassing huge area of Buddhist monastery, stupa, assembly hall, cave, aqueduct and residential settlements. Continue reading

Jamal Garhi: Tremors unhinge Mardan’s architectural treasure

By Hidayat Khan
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2015.

Like other historical sites and buildings in the province, the fifth century CE Buddhist monastery and circular stupa, Jamal Garhi, also took a jolt. And so it lost a wall in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake on October 26.

Numerous stones from the collapsed wall skidded through the monastery and monk quarters, creating significant damage throughout the structure. According to an employee, Mahmood Khan, “One of the ancient walls completely collapsed from the massive earthquake. We are currently busy collecting the scattered stones and placing them in their proper place.”

Mardan’s historical grandeur

An ancient Gandharan architecture, it is located 13 kilometres north of Mardan city and rises 122 metres above ground level. The monastery is situated a short distance from Shahbaz Garhi and UNESCO World Heritage site of Takht Bhai, all of which contribute to Mardan being one of the prime tourist attraction spots in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Archaeologists believed Jamal Garhi was established during the era of Gandhara civilisation when Buddhism flourished within the Indian subcontinent. According to Sir John Marshall, a famous British archaeologist, the monastery is one of the earliest sites built in the region. It was first discovered by Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1848 and excavations were carried out from 1852 to 1873. Buddhist and Kharosthi inscriptions were discovered during the work and portions were shifted to Peshawar Museum for display and preservation.

Recent excavations in 2012, funded by the government of Japan and UNESCO, discovered coins from 158 CE, sculpture plate, head of Buddha and traces of a lake and other findings.

ANJ1190-copy Continue reading

Amaravati, a centre of Buddhist learning

Rare sculptures at the AmaravatiArt Gallery in Chennai Museum.-Photos: V. Ganesan

Rare sculptures at the AmaravatiArt Gallery in Chennai Museum.-Photos: V. Ganesan

The Hindu

“The ninety-feet high marble-encased cupola, surmounted by big stone umbrellas, the series of tall slender marble columns on the platforms marking four cardinal points, the four festooned gateways flanked by lion-topped columns and the fourteen-feet high sculptured railing round the stupa, all of which together must have been a sight of glory,” it adds.

The last reference identifying it as a Buddhist learning centre is found in the writings of Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Dharmakeerti. He talks about the presence of a two-storeyed building and a giant size Buddha. The place was known as Mahaceitiya (Great Ceitiya), where the relics of Buddha were kept.

“It fell into ruins, and when Col Colin Mackenzie, the first Surveyor General of India visited the place in 1797, it was a mound of sculptures and artefacts. The first excavation was done by Sir Walter Elliot in 1845 and he collected what is known as the Amaravati Marbles,” said noted archaeologist R. Nagaswamy, who was also the Director of the Archaeology Department.

Some of the sculptures and artefacts were brought to Chennai for exhibition and some to Calcutta and finally to the British Muesum.

By the time Robert Sewell, an expert on Vijayanagar Empire, arrived at the scene, the Buddhist stupa had already been destroyed.

“There is also a report how a local Jamindar had burnt these sculptures and other invaluable to make lime for his building,” explained Mr. Nagaswamy.

It was Edward Green Balfour, the first officer-in-charge of the Museum in Chennai, brought first set of marble slabs for display while sending some to England. Subsequently, Dr George Bidie exhibited them in their present location in the museum.

“One garland motives represent the relics of Buddha being carried in eight different directions,” Mr Nagaswamy said, adding Amara Rama, an ancient Hindu pilgrim centre was also present nearby.

A note by the Chennai Museum, where there is a separate section for Amaravati sculptures, describes the Amaravati Stupa as poetry in marble


U.S. Continues Support for Sri Lankan Cultural and Religious Heritage

Rajagala Monastery

Rajagala Monastery: The new 50,000 grant with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura to continue restoring the Rajagala Monastery adds to the previous 00,000 grant from 2013 for the same project.

Mon, 2015-10-05 18:30
Colombo, 05 October, (

As part of its continuing efforts to preserve Sri Lanka’s cultural and religious heritage, the Embassy of the United States of America is pleased to announce new grants totaling $300,000 (42.1 million LKR) to help restore the ancient Buddhist Rajagala Monastery and improve preservation of artifacts at the Anuradhapura Archeological Museum.

Rajagala Monastery: The new 50,000 grant with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura to continue restoring the Rajagala Monastery adds to the previous 00,000 grant from 2013 for the same project.

“The United States recognizes the importance of preserving Sri Lankan religious and cultural heritage sites and has committed 100 million Sri Lankan Rupees to this effort since 2005,” said U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap. “We hope that our cooperation with Sri Lanka to preserve cultural heritage sites will help raise international awareness and provide a boost for tourism and people-to-people understanding.”

Under the new grant, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura will receive $150,000 from the U.S. Embassy through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) to continue its restoration of the Rajagala Monastery. The funding will support a detailed ground survey of the monastery and conserve some of the most important monuments used by early Buddhist priests. This is the second phase of U.S. assistance on this project, adding to an initial $100,000 grant from 2013. Continue reading

The capital of Satavahanas has come a full circle

The Hindu
V RISHI KUMAR, October 22, 2015:

Ancient Buddhist city of Amaravati set to serve as a State capital again

On a sultry summer morning as I drive to Amaravati from Guntur about 27 years ago, the small road full of potholes and greenery on either side led to a sleepy town on the banks of the Krishna river.

In sharp contrast to the limelight it is receiving today, the small town was only frequented by people who wanted to connect with the ancient remains of a Maha Chaitya (Buddhist Stupa) and Buddhist teachings and to worship at the famous Amaresvara (Siva) temple on the riverside.

About two decades later, Amaravati was in news when the great Kalachakra event was held there in 2006 with the Dalai Lama and thousands of Buddhist monks in attendance at the place, believed to be once visited by Gautama Buddha.

Heritage relics
As a rookie reporter armed with Cosina, a film-based SLR, I had an interesting meeting with PRK Prasad, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist based at Amaravati then. He took me through the heritage relics of the Buddhist site and explained the efforts to restore the Stupa in the form of a mound and how a museum created there had become a treasure trove of Buddhist artefacts.

A number of sculptures from the archaeological sites gathered from excavations now adorn the mound, which overlooks the huge Buddha statue. An inscription at the site says that Emperor Asoka played a role in the construction of the site.

Still tranquil
Despite all the buzz about the new capital city being named after the historic town, it still remains tranquil. The scene of action, where the foundation stone-laying ceremony is to be held, is some 20 km away from Amaravati town. Continue reading

Buddha statue, circa 9th century Korea, found

A Buddha statue found at a temple site in Yangyang, Gangwon Province, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

A Buddha statue found at a temple site in Yangyang, Gangwon Province, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The Korea Herald

2015-10-15 15:56

A Buddha statue, presumed to date back to the ninth century, has been found in Korea in what archeologists say may be an important new discovery to understanding ancient Buddhist art.

The gilt bronze statue, measuring over 50 centimeters in height, was discovered at a temple site in Yangyang, Gangwon Province, where a stone pagoda and other Buddhist relics had earlier been uncovered.

“According to experts who were called upon to check the new discovery at the excavation site this afternoon, the relic seems to be the largest of such kind from the Unified Silla period (668―935) and hold high value both artistically and historically,” an official at the Cultural Heritage Administration was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.

Preserved in relatively good condition compared to other statues from the period, the statue will have to be examined by researchers in the coming months, but experts predicted it could become a national treasure.

By Lee Sun-young