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

Demchok MöndurBde mchog mon dur

Basic site data

  • Site name: Demchok MöndurBde mchog mon dur
  • English equivalent: DemchokBde mchog MönMon Tombs
  • Site number: D-112
  • Site typology: II.2x
  • Elevation: 4270 m and 4290 m
  • Administrative location (township): Trashi GangBkra shis sgang
  • Administrative location (county): GarSgar
  • Survey expedition: HTWE
  • Survey date: June 30, 2004
  • Contemporary usage: Illicit excavation.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Demchok MöndurBde mchog mon dur is located on the edge of DemchokBde mchog, a largely abandoned border village, on the left side of the Senggé TsangpoSeng ge gtsang po valley. The site is situated on the forward flanks of a series of prominences that rise above the valley bottom. The views from Demchok MöndurBde mchog mon dur are restricted to the local stretch of the Senggé TsangpoSeng ge gtsang po valley. The terrain is somewhat sloping, rocky and sandy. Demchok MöndurBde mchog mon dur consists of no less than twenty-five funerary structures, most of which have been thoroughly vandalized. These heavily built structures are of significant size and cultural importance. Sadly, in the last few years, they have been almost completely destroyed by looters. The site appears to be comprised of quadrate structures (double-course enclosures?) elevated 50 cm to 1 m above the surrounding ground level. All the structures are built of uncut variable-length pieces of gray granite. Many larger stones (50 cm to 1 m long) were used in their construction. These funerary structures were excavated both recently and in the more distant past. These excavations were almost certainly conducted for the recovery of valuable artifacts. The systematic, large-scale nature of the recent excavations can only have been the work of a highly organized and well-equipped team. The destruction of the site appears to have been carried out openly and with impunity.

Oral tradition

This site appears to be associated with the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

The longer dimension given for each locus below generally corresponds with the direction of the axis of the slope.

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (22 m by 6 m) is a conterminous band of highly fragmentary structures. Although there is much rubble, only the smallest traces of intact walls have survived. Higher up, on the lower flanks of the hill upon which Khargok Dorjé YudrönmaMkhar gog rdo rje g.yu sgron ma (A-124) sits, are traces of what appears to be a large funerary structure.

The remaining structures of the site are situated around 4270 m elevation:

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (13 m by 5.5 m) is situated 9 m southeast of FS1. FS2 has been reduced to an amorphous rocky dispersion.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (4.4 m by 6 m) is situated on another prominence. Heavily damaged through excavation, there is a stone-filled pit (3 m across) in the middle of the structure surrounded by heaps of stones. The lack of soil cover and weathering indicate that this pit was recently excavated.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (12.4 m by 7.6 m) is situated on the next prominence to the east. This specimen has been damaged almost beyond recognition and is now nothing more than a zone of depressions and a stone-filled pit. In the vicinity there is also an excavation (4 m across) filled with loose stones and ringed by piles of earth. These piles of earth exhibit no appreciable signs of erosion.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (25.8 m by 8 m) is a conterminous dispersion consisting of heaps of stones interspersed with pits that exhibit no signs of erosion.

Funerary Structure FS6

Funerary structure FS6 (17.3 m by 4.5 m) is marked by pits and piles of stones. One of the pits is lined with a tiny wall fragment composed of stones, 10 cm to 40 cm in length. This wall appears to have made up one end of the FS6 structure/structures. In close proximity to FS6, a trench (4.7 m by 1.8 m) was recently dug and the excavated stones thrown back into it. This trench was clearly dug to survey subsurface remains. Its creation indicates a good deal of sophistication on the part of the grave robbers.

Funerary Structure FS7

Funerary structure FS7 (37.2 m by 6 m) is a large dispersion with both old and new excavations. Depressions and piles of stones mark FS7.

Funerary Structure FS8

Funerary structure FS8 (27.6 m by 5.5 m) appears to consist of three discrete quadrate structures.

Funerary Structure FS9

Funerary structure FS9 (22.5 m by 6.2 m and 7.2 m) consists of two discrete structures.

Funerary Structure FS10

Funerary structure FS10 (57 m long) is comprised of at least four discrete structural elements. On the north or low end of the dispersion there is a recently dug trench (4 m by 1 m), which has been refilled with stones. There is also a large stony dispersion with no recognizable monuments. Another structural element consists of two highly fragmentary interconnected quadrate enclosures. Finally, there is a large stone depression that was uniformly excavated to a depth of about 1 m.

Funerary Structure FS11

Funerary structure FS11 (24.8 m by 5 m) is an obscured dispersion that may have consisted of a single structure. There are no signs of recent excavation.

Funerary Structure FS12

Funerary structure FS12 is an ambiguous dispersion. Nearby, a pit (5 m by 3.8 m) was recently excavated to a depth of 1.2 m. Another pit in the vicinity (3.3 m by 4.9 m) is 1.5 m deep. These pits do not reveal any traces of subsurface structures.

Funerary Structure FS13

Funerary structure FS13 (14 m by 5 m) is a rocky dispersion at which excavations have recently taken place.

Funerary Structure FS14

Funerary structure FS14 (28.4 m long) consists of several structures from which stones have been extracted wholesale. The largest of these structures (11 m by 15 m) has an eroded depression in the middle of it, the remains of an old excavation.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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