Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

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

II.2. Superficial structures: Primarily funerary superstructure

Beltsa GyangtrokBal tshwa gyang khrog

Basic site data

  • Site name: Beltsa GyangtrokBal tshwa gyang khrog
  • English equivalent: Wool Salt Ruins
  • Site number: D-58
  • Site typology: II.2a, II.2b
  • Elevation: 4580 m
  • Administrative location (township): RukyokRu skyog
  • Administrative location (county): SagaSa dga’
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: April 21 and November 1, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: A small manima ṇi wall.
  • Maps: UTRS XIII
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Beltsa GyangtrokBal tshwa gyang khrog, a group of funerary structures, is located on the right side of the Rukyok TsangpoRu skyog gtsang po valley bottom. The site is situated on level ground spotted with turf, gravel and stones, which rises a little above the flood plain of the river. The northern end of the site is within one-half km of Beltsa Gyangtrok DoringBal tshwa gyang khrog rdo ring (C-82), and these two monuments are likely to be functionally interrelated (insomuch as walled pillars are often found near funerary structures). Beltsa GyangtrokBal tshwa gyang khrog consists of 17 well-built but highly dissolute rectangular and sub-rectangular funerary superstructures spread out over a transection of one-half km. Most of these enclosures appear to have had single-course perimeter walls, but there is also evidence for double-course walls. These walls contain variable length (20 cm to 70 cm long) blocks and, to a lesser degree, slabs, most of which appear to have been laid flat on the ground. Some stones used in construction may have been dressed. These enclosures appear to have been heavily disturbed sometime in the past. Most of the enclosing walls are severely denuded of stones, and many of those stones that remain on the site are not fixed in their original configurations. Furthermore, larger stone members lying on the surface are of the type regularly employed in the subsurface architecture of Upper Tibetan tombs.

Oral tradition

None was collected.

Site elements

Southeast sector
  1. Funerary structure FS1 (5 m by 8.5 m) is elevated to a maximum height of 50 cm above the plain. Four dislodged stones between 1 m and 1.5 m in length are found within the enclosure. Most of the perimeter wall has been destroyed.
  2. Funerary structure FS2 (3.5 m by 4 m) is a small sub-rectangular single-course enclosure that is level with the ground surface.
  3. Funerary structure FS3 (10.8 m by 7.2 m), a highly dissolute enclosure, is elevated 30 cm to 50 cm above the surrounding plain.
  4. Funerary structure FS4 (3.7 m by 2.8 m) is a relatively well-preserved, single-course seemingly ovoid enclosure, which is nearly flush with the ground surface.
  5. Funerary structure FS5 (5.5 m by 4.3 m) is flush with the ground surface. Within the enclosure are two desultory stone members 1.2 m and 1.3 m in length.
  6. Funerary structure FS6 (5.2 m by 9 m) has more than 50 percent of its single-course perimeter intact (33.060΄ / 57.270΄). This structure is level with the ground surface.
  7. Funerary structure FS7 6.4 m by 9.3 m by 11.4 m) appears to have been an L-shaped enclosure. The west side of this structure is raised 50 cm above the surrounding terrain. A portion of the east wall of the enclosure has maintained its coherency. On the perimeter there is a stone member 1.6 m in length and inside the enclosure there is a large slab (1 m by 1 m). A small wall upon which rest plaques inscribed with the manima ṇi mantra was built on top of the enclosure.
  8. Funerary structure FS8 (6.8 m by 11 m) is elevated 30 cm to 70 above the surrounding plain. A portion of its single-course perimeter walls are intact. A large broken stone lies within the enclosure.
  9. Funerary structure FS9 (5.6 m by 3.1 m) has only small portions of its enclosure walls intact. The structure is elevated up to 30 cm above the surrounding plain. Large stones (up to 1 m long) are scattered within the enclosure.
  10. Funerary structure FS10 (7.1 m by 10.4 m) with its single-course perimeter walls is largely intact. There are some upright slabs in the east wall of the enclosure.
  11. Funerary structure FS11 (5.6 m by 9.3 m) is elevated around 50 cm above the surrounding plain. Many parts of the enclosing walls (60 cm thick) are intact, and include segments that are double-course. These walls contain slabs (up to 80 cm long) set in the ground edgewise. Within the enclosure, a 1.8 m long slab of stone lies partially submerged.
  12. Funerary structure FS12 (9 m by 3.5 m) is a highly fragmentary specimen that is level with the ground surface
  13. Funerary structure FS13 (4.8 m by 8.7 m) is elevated 50 cm to 1 m above the surrounding plain. The perimeter walls are partly intact and include one upright slab. FS13 is only 7 m away from the main road.
Northwest sector
  1. Funerary structure FS14 (10.7 m by 8.2 m) is elevated 50 cm to 70 cm above the surrounding terrain. Most parts of the perimeter walls have been destroyed.
  2. Funerary structure FS15 (2.9 m by 4.9 m) is a very small specimen.
  3. Funerary structure FS16 (7.8 m by 9.1 m) is elevated 70 cm to 1.2 m above the surrounding valley floor. Parts of its north and east walls are extant. Cobbles are deposited on top of this structure; these are likely to have been part of the original superstructure.
  4. Funerary structure FS17 (measurements unavailable).

Affiliated sites

In Beltsa GyangtrokBal tshwa gyang khrog, at the edge of the Rukyok TsangpoRu skyog gtsang po valley, there is a partial enclosure containing four massive upright stones (up to 2 m high) of unknown function and age (29° 32.842΄ N. lat. / 84° 57.252΄ E. long. / 4580 m). The rear wall of this fragmentary enclosure was built against a steep slope and contains three of the very large upright stones. There is no forward wall in this well-built structure. Several large dislodged stones lie within the walls.


Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. . Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.