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

YilungDbyi lung

Basic site data

  • Site name: YilungDbyi lung
  • English equivalent: Lynx Valley
  • Site number: A-88
  • Site typology: I.1c, I.2c
  • Elevation: 4380 m
  • Administrative location (township): DerokSde rog
  • Administrative location (county): RutokRu thog
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: May 23, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I, HAS A1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

On the west side of the mouth of the waterless YilungDbyi lung valley (a tributary of the RusumRu gsum valley system) there are a series of defensive walls. These dry-stoneed random-rubble walls of YilungDbyi lung run along the steep flanks of a rocky ridge. These structures are up to 1 m in height, and must have been used in the defense of the YilungDbyi lung valley. The site is divided by a cliff and a gap of approximately 100 m into south and north sectors.

Oral tradition

According to RusumRu gsum residents, the YilungDbyi lung ruins are that of an ancient Kel MönSkal mon stronghold.

Site elements

South sector

The south sector is dominated by a wall 60 m in length, enclosing an uneven terrace 4 m to 6 m wide. This wall is made of granite boulders covered in orange climax lichen, some of which are more than 1 m in length. At a slightly lower elevation there are the remnants of a much smaller wall. A cleft in the face of the cliff above the terrace may have once afforded shelter.

North sector

The north sector also consists of one main wall that enclosed a level area cut into the slope. The wall is 40 m in length, and is best preserved along its middle section. Much of what was the terrace behind the rampart has been obliterated by the failure of the slope. To have fully enclosed this section of the ridge, this wall would have had to extend 20 m more to the edge of a cliff, but no signs of such a wall section are visible. About 30 m above the defensive wall there is a cave (11 m by 10 m) with at least a 5 m high ceiling. Around its mouth are the vestiges of a façade, which appears to have small bits of mud plaster sticking to it. The remnants of masonry adhering to the mouth of the cave indicate that this wall was at least 4 m in height. The habitation of this cave is likely to have been associated with the defensive walls below.

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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.