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

TrachenBkra chen

Basic site data

  • Site name: TrachenBkra chen
  • English equivalent: Very Beautiful
  • Site number: D-85
  • Site typology: II.2b
  • Elevation: 4790 m and 4850 m
  • Administrative location (township): MepaSmad pa
  • Administrative location (county): ShentsaShan rtsa
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: September 28, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS IX
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

The TrachenBkra chen funerary site is located in an eponymous valley, an effluent of the Mukyu TsoSmu skyu mtsho/Mokyu TsoRmo khyu mtsho that flows from the north. The TrachenBkra chen valley is closely hemmed in on all sides by ridges. The terrain is level, sandy and turf-cloaked. The seven funerary enclosures of TrachenBkra chen are aggregated into two groups: south sector (three specimens) and north sector (four specimens). Except for funerary structure FS3, these enclosures are in a very poor state of preservation. The in situ evidence suggests that most of these superstructures consisted of double-course perimeter walls. At least one heaped-stone wall enclosure may also be represented. There are no signs of recent looting at TrachenBkra chen.

Oral tradition

According to drokpa’brog pa of the third and fourth residential units (drongtsogrong tsho) of MepaSmad pa, the structures of TrachenBkra chen are either the foundations of houses or tent sites (nangranang ra) built by the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

Lower sector

The south sector site sits at the foot of the ridge bounding the south side of the TrachenBkra chen valley. Uncut gray metamorphic stones, primarily 10 cm to 50 cm in length, went into the construction of the three funerary structures of the lower sector.

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 is generally aligned in the cardinal directions, but this enclosure is missing significant wall sections. The perimeter wall is around 1 m thick, but exhibits no coherent segments. The entire structure is even with the ground surface.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (4.3 m by 3.6 m) is situated 28 m east of FS1. Its overall form and wall composition are no longer clear. In the perimeter walls are several upright stones, 30 cm to 45 cm in length, with some protrusion from the ground surface.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (12 m by 11.6 m) is situated 42 m east of FS2. It is a quadrate structure that is generally aligned in the cardinal directions. The relatively intact perimeter primarily consists of double-course slab walls (70 cm to 1.2 m thick), which contain stones 15 cm to 85 cm long and 4 cm to 10 cm thick. These slabs are even with the ground surface or elevated above it to a maximum height of 20 cm. There are also some blocky stones in certain parts of the double-course perimeter walls. The area inside the perimeter is level and devoid of structural elements. The size and careful construction of funerary structure FS3 shows that it was the premier funerary structure at TrachenBkra chen.

Upper sector

The upper sector is found on the north edge of the TrachenBkra chen valley on gently inclined ground. The four funerary enclosures of the upper sector are primarily composed of smaller gray stones (10 cm to 30 cm long).

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (5.7 m by 6 m) is a four-sided enclosure exhibiting no coherent wall fragments (04.02΄ / 15.55΄ / 4850 m).

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (14.4 m across) is situated 35 m northeast of FS4. This structure appears to be a heaped-stone wall enclosure. Most parts of its perimeter walls are now flush with the ground level. The downhill wall of FS4 is missing.

Funerary Structure FS6

Funerary structure FS6 (4.6 m across) is situated 30 m east of FS4. This incomplete enclosure has no extant coherent wall segments, but its overall morphological profile suggests that it was of the double-course variety. The entire structure is level with the ground surface.

Funerary Structure FS7

Funerary structure FS7 (4.2 m across) is situated 7 m south of FS6. This incomplete perimeter has no coherent wall segments, but the form of construction suggests that it was of a double-course composition. FS7 is flush with the ground surface.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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