Hidden Archaeological Sites

Beikthano

Beikthano ruins lie some 20 km west of Taungdwingyi and are not easily recognized by casual bypassers; however, elderly locals remember the fort walls which used to stand much higher than its current stature about half a century ago. The excavations here are limited to twenty-five selected sites during the six open seasons.

hidden01Artefacts that were excavated includes masonry structures with massive walls constructed using large bricks, un-inscribed silver coins bearing symbols of prosperity and luck, burial urns, beads of clay, semi-precious stones, decorated pottery, and iron nails. The burial urns are definite evidence of cultural relationship between Beikthano and the Pyu capital of Srikshetra as the urns are unqiue to the Pyu dynasty. Innumerable urns unearthed at Srikshetra are also of the same character.

The antiquity of Beikthano is vouched by the recovery of un-inscribed coins or medals known as Pyu coins. Though the numbers of excavated artefacts are quite little, surface finds were also made by the locals over the years. However, artefacts of this sort appear not only in the predominant Srikshetra, but also in the Hanlin area.

Hanlin

Hanlin is the ancient site where Pyu culture flourished as early as the 2nd century A.D. The city ruins is a brick-walled complex about two miles long and a mile wide, located 17 km southeast of Shwebo. Over the years, local residents in Hanlin have taken some interest in the antiquities ( gold, silver and bronze objects, utensils, mirrors, coins and ornaments) and decided to melt or sell many of them for commercial value. Unlike Srikshetra or Beikthano where traces of Hinduism and Buddhism were found from idols of gods, there were no such traces of religion found in Hanlin.

Tagaung

“The Glass Palace”, written by author Amitav Gosh says that Myanmar’s history began in Tagaung around 300 years before the birth of Buddha in 850 BC. Tagaung is situated 200 km north of Mandalay. Ruins here indicate that the region was quite civilized with their own feudalist systems with cities, kings, farmers, workers and several festivals.

Hmawza

The ancient site of Srikestra lies 8 km north-east of Pyay in the village of Hmawza. It dates back to the early Pyu kingdom that used to rule the surrounding area from the 5th to 9th century AD. There is a museum today that stands beside old palace. There are several collections of artefacts that were collected from Thayekhittaya excavations inside the museum that include royal funerary urns, stone relief's, a couple of bodhisattvas, statues of the Hindu deities-Tara Devi, Vishnu and Lakshmi, several 6th century Buddha images, tile fragments, terracotta votive tablets, and silver coins minted during the Pyu kingdom.

Padalin Cave

The Padalin cave is situated in the Panlaung reserved forest area in the Taunggyi district. The cave is four miles from Nyaunggyat village and a mile from Yebok. Located in between the jungle-clad mountains at 1000 feet above sea level, the terrain is rough and rugged. Being a limestone cave the interior abounds are stalagmites and stalactites.

hidden02The excavation at Padhlin yielded a horde of artefacts and other finds. Innumerable stone implements, hundreds of animal bone fragments, a few human fossils, shells of land mollusks, charcoal pieces, and mounds of clay were among the archaeological finds. The stone implements and the fauna testify the age of Padahlin to be Neolithic, and together with these priceless treasures several prehistoric cave paintings were also brought to light. Most of these painting drawn with red ochre and often resembled fishes, deer, bison, bulls, human hands, and skulls. This exemplified the creative capacity of the early men. Like the paintings at Padahlin, the cave drawings at Lascaux in France, (which has been called "the Sistine chaple of prehistoric art) and Altamira in Spain also portrayed human hands and animals.

Though open to conjecture the general consensus is that the legacy of cave paintings at Padahlin must surely have been more than what was found in 1968. It might be surmised that the elements, the deposition of calcium carbonate on the walls and the acid smoke emitted from the fire used for cooking and warming themselves must have obliterated and destroyed a great part of the treasure trove.

Nyaunggan

The Bronze-Age culture heritage site is located near the Nyaunggan Village in the Sagaing Division about 50 km from Monywar. This archaeological site is located on a crater of a dormant volcano. There are 5 excavation sites so far where several burial mounds have been found. In these excavation sites human skeletal remains were found buried together with pots, stone rings, beads, socket bronze axes, and some animal bones. This is considered to be an extraordinary prehistoric culture, which is thought to be the missing link between Stone Age and Iron Age, and the first discovery of a Bronze-age Burial site in Myanmar.

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