Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Antiquities of Zhang Zhung
by John Vincent Bellezza
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow, Mickey Stockwell and Michael White
Tibetan & Himalayan Library
Published under the THL Digital Text License.

I.1. Residential Structures Occupying Summits: Fortresses, breastworks, religious buildings, palaces, and related edifices

Nakra Drakseng DzongNag ra brag seng rdzong

Basic site data

  • Site name: Nakra Drakseng DzongNag ra brag seng rdzong
  • English equivalent: Black Enclosure Lion Rock Fortress
  • Site number: A-76
  • Site typology: I.1c
  • Elevation: 4860 m to 5000 m
  • Administrative location (township): DrowaGro ba
  • Administrative location (county): NyimaNyi ma
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: June 25, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VIII
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

On the south and east slopes and summit of NakradrakNag ra brag seng, a black craggy mountain, there are the remains of a network of ramparts. These formed what was once a fairly extensive defensive installation, overlooking the rich pasturage of the Nyawo TsangpoNya bo gtsang po basin. These pasturelands are easily monitored from the site. Nakra Drakseng DzongNag ra brag seng rdzong supported few if any buildings. All walls were constructed of dry-stone random-rubble. In the middle reaches of the site, a succession of ramparts stretching for 140 m hem in various natural terraces and saddles. These level areas along the steep slopes must have functioned as staging grounds for military operations.

Oral tradition

None was obtained.

Site elements

Lower rampart

Above the valley floor, on the south slope of the mountain, there is a more than 30 m long wall reduced to its footings (4860 m). This wall is at least 60 cm thick and built of stones primarily 30 cm to 50 cm in length. This appears to have been the forward-most breastworks at Nakra Drakseng DzongNag ra brag seng rdzong.

Central ramparts

Higher up the slopes, at the base of a line of crags, there is an extensive group of defensive walls enclosing natural terraces (4920 m to 4930 m). A series of walls circumscribe a nearly 170 m wide section of the slope. On a rocky spur, on the east end of this sector, there is a fragmentary wall section, 5 m in length and up to 60 cm in height. Below it, a wall runs along a steep slope in a westerly direction for 26 m to another spur. It skirts the edge of a saddle. Much of this wall has been leveled to its footings. Beyond the spur, the wall continues to traverse the slope for another 30 m to the west. In some places it encloses small saddles that may have supported buildings, but too little is left to make a determination. Little bits of wall, up to 1 m in height, are found at these locations. Another rampart extends 30 m west of the spur, gaining about 3 m in elevation. It encloses a 3 m wide natural terrace. Above the east side of this terrace there are the foundations (8 m by 6 m) of what may have been a building constructed next to a cliff. Within the rubble of this structure is a single stone slab 1.5 m in length that was possibly used as a roofing element. At the western terminus of the 30 m long defensive walls there is another highly deteriorated transverse rampart section that encloses a terrace, 6 m to 8 m in width. It is 35 m in length. This wall is interrupted in the west by an outcrop. Beyond it there is the most westerly rampart, a wall that extends for 40 m along the edge of another terrace, which is 2.5 m to 6.5 m wide. Below the two westernmost ramparts there may have been two other rampart sections bounding terraces.

Summit ramparts

On the north summit crest, a 13 m long wall fences in the west side of a 100 m² saddle (5000 m). This better-preserved wall has a maximum height of 1.2 m and is 2.5 m thick. There may also have been a wall on the west side of this saddle but virtually nothing has survived. A couloir drops down from the east side of the saddle for 50 m vertical to another fragmentary rampart, 50 m in length. This lower wall effectively blocked passage from the eastern approaches to Nakra Drakseng DzongNag ra brag seng rdzong; one side of it ends in a long drop and the other side terminates against a large vertical spine of rock.

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Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland. Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.