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Archaeology in the kingdom of Buthan: Exploring the country's prehistory


Fux, Peter; Walser, Christoph; Tshering, Namgyel (2014). Archaeology in the kingdom of Buthan: Exploring the country's prehistory. Zürich: Schweizerisch-Liechtensteinische Stiftung für archäologische Forschungen im Ausland.

Abstract

By today, archaeological insight into the cultural history of the Kingdom of Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas is still lacking. In the course of the ongoing Bhutan-Swiss col- laboration project in order to institutionalize archaeology, not only highly important sites were detected but also the exigency of archaeological regulations and site pro- tection becomes evident.
On the basis of interviews with local informants, the authors conducted field sur- veys and documented the cultural landscape in the mythical core area of the Tang val- ley in central Bhutan. The general picture composed of collected data seems to illus- trate a mythical or Buddhist-historical meaning of manifold historical and prehistoric sites which is generally accepted and venerated by the local society.
Nowadays however, Bhutan faces enormous cultural changes, mainly caused by rapidly increasing tourism influx and information technology. As a consequence, myth- ical-religious beliefs, which have protected archaeological sites from looting, are weak- ening to a certain extent. This danger of cultural heritage loss becomes evident by a looted chorten on top of a prehistoric burial mound. The discovery of large burial mounds in the Phobjikha Valley illustrates the importance of immediate archaeologi- cal regulations and site protection and furthermore shows the tremendous scientific potential of archaeology in Bhutan.

By today, archaeological insight into the cultural history of the Kingdom of Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas is still lacking. In the course of the ongoing Bhutan-Swiss col- laboration project in order to institutionalize archaeology, not only highly important sites were detected but also the exigency of archaeological regulations and site pro- tection becomes evident.
On the basis of interviews with local informants, the authors conducted field sur- veys and documented the cultural landscape in the mythical core area of the Tang val- ley in central Bhutan. The general picture composed of collected data seems to illus- trate a mythical or Buddhist-historical meaning of manifold historical and prehistoric sites which is generally accepted and venerated by the local society.
Nowadays however, Bhutan faces enormous cultural changes, mainly caused by rapidly increasing tourism influx and information technology. As a consequence, myth- ical-religious beliefs, which have protected archaeological sites from looting, are weak- ening to a certain extent. This danger of cultural heritage loss becomes evident by a looted chorten on top of a prehistoric burial mound. The discovery of large burial mounds in the Phobjikha Valley illustrates the importance of immediate archaeologi- cal regulations and site protection and furthermore shows the tremendous scientific potential of archaeology in Bhutan.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Published Research Report
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Archaeology
Dewey Decimal Classification:900 History
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:06 Jan 2015 13:01
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:41
Publisher:Schweizerisch-Liechtensteinische Stiftung für archäologische Forschungen im Ausland
Series Name:SLSA Jahresbericht
Number of Pages:29
ISBN:978-3-9523258-7-2
Funders:SLSA
Official URL:http://www.slsa.ch
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-103028

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