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

Omlung’Om lung

Basic site data

  • Site name: Omlung’Om lung
  • English equivalent: Tamarisk Valley
  • Site number: D-132
  • Site typology: II.2b
  • Elevation: 4420 m to 4480 m
  • Administrative location (township): RecoRe co
  • Administrative location (county): RutokRu thog
  • Survey expedition: HTAE
  • Survey date: October 4, 2003
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I, HAS A1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Omlung’Om lung is a series of funerary sites located in a valley of the same name. The funerary structures of Omlung’Om lung are situated on sandy benches on both sides of the valley. They are built of uncut light-colored variable-length pieces (up to 80 cm long) of granite. Reportedly, there are at least three more funerary structures on the left side of the Omlung’Om lung valley (situated roughly 3 km down valley of funerary structure FS5), which were not surveyed. Some barley cultivation is still carried out in Omlung’Om lung but not to the same extent as in RamaRa ma (D-96).

There are other funerary structures scattered around the main and side valleys of RecoRe co, which were not surveyed due to time limitations. The concentration of archaic funerary sites in RecoRe co is extremely noteworthy. This density of funerary sites, however, does not positively correlate to archaic residential monuments in the region. This suggests that RecoRe co region was largely devoted to funerary functions. The funerary usage of RecoRe co may have catered to the needs of areas in RutokRu thog with well developed archaic residential installations.

Oral tradition

In RecoRe co, structures such as those found at Omlung’Om lung are generally attributed to the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 is roughly aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 5 m (north-south) by 29 m (east-west) (33° 21.388΄ N. lat. / 79° 10.103΄ / 4480 m). FS1 is located on the right/east side of the valley. This rectangular structure is elevated around 70 cm above the surrounding, sloping sandy terrain. The entire structure is covered in large stones embedded in the surface. Some loose stones are scattered on top of this platform-like structure as well. There are no coherent wall segments extant. Right in the middle of FS1, a stone pen (5.5 m across) composed of the same type of rocks was erected. The walls of this pen are about 1.5 m in height. It is filled with sand up to 60 cm from the top of its walls. The function of this pen is enigmatic. It appears to be a subsequent modification to FS1, as it is built in a rudimentary manner and could not have survived intact for too long.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (3 m by 2.1 m) is situated 2.2 m north of FS1. This structure is elevated a maximum of 60 cm above ground level and is completely sheathed in pieces of granite.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (8 m by 6 m) is situated about 1 km downstream of FS2, on the right side of the valley (21.627΄ / 10.116΄ / 4470 m). FS3 was also built on sandy sloping ground. This is a fragmentary enclosure whose downhill wall is raised about 1 m above the adjacent terrain. The opposite wall is flush with the slope and contains stones that protrude upwards of 30 cm above ground level.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (2 m by 1.7 m) is situated 13 m south or up valley from FS3. The perimeter walls of this small enclosure no longer exhibit any coherence. Loose stones are piled inside the enclosure. The entire structure is elevated around 50 cm above the surrounding terrain.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 is located on the left/west side of the Omlung’Om lung valley (22.789΄ / 10.239΄ / 4450 m). It was built on a bench rising approximately 25 m above the valley floor. This highly dissolute structure is medium-sized. FS5 ranges from level with the ground surface to being elevated above it to a height of 1 m. On the east side of the structure there are tiny coherent wall fragments.

Funerary Structure FS6

Funerary structure FS6 (5.4 m by 5.7 m) is situated on the right side of the mouth of the Omlung’Om lung valley (24.277΄ / 11.908΄ / 4420 m). It sits on a bench that is situated about 40 m above the valley floor. FS6 is a substantially built structure that is generally aligned in the cardinal direction. The entire structure is prominently elevated above the surrounding terrain. The forward wall (up to 70 cm high) is composed of two to four vertical courses of granite masonry. Stones in the base of FS6 are up to 1.4 m in length. On top of the structure there is a small hollow, the remains of an excavation in all probability. There may be two smaller funerary structures in close proximity of FS6, but their structural signatures are no longer legible. Also, 5.8 m southeast of FS6, three upright slabs form a rectangular structure whose fourth side is open. The shorter slabs of the two side walls are 60 cm and 70 cm in length and are slightly elevated above the ground surface. The slab of the long side of the structure is 1 m in length and projects 20 cm above the surface. This trilithic structure must have had specialized funerary ritual functions. FS6 is in plain view of the settlement of RecoRe co. It is reported that various funerary structures in the vicinity were dismantled during the construction of the homogenous modern settlement. Fortunately FS6 was too inaccessible to be destroyed in this fashion.

Affiliated sites

In the main RecoRe co valley, between the link road and the foot of the enclosing ridge, there are the remains of a single-course granite enclosure (33° 23.588΄ N. lat. / 79° 13.294΄ E. long. / 4380 m). The perimeter walls of this rectangular structure (6 m by 4 m) contain large pieces of granite (up to 1.2 m long), which protrude as much as 45 cm above ground level.

Also near the main road, east of the NgakkhangNgag khang (sp.?) valley, there is another granite funerary structure (23.277΄ / 14.769΄ / 4380 m). This quadrate enclosure (6.5 m by 5.5 m) has double-course perimeter walls around 70 cm in thickness. Generally, stones 40 cm to 60 cm in length went into the construction of these walls. There is a small sub-rectangular enclosure inside the outer walls of the structure, near its southwest side.

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Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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