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

NakgyamNag gyam

Basic site data

  • Site name: NakgyamNag gyam
  • English equivalent: Black Cliff Rock Shelter
  • Site number: D-116
  • Site typology: II.2a, II.2b, II.2c
  • Elevation: 4960 m
  • Administrative location (township): BuptöSbub stod
  • Administrative location (county): Drongpa’Brong pa
  • Survey expedition: TUE
  • Survey date: September 4, 2005
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS XI
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

NakgyamNag gyam is located on the west side of the Bupzhung TsangpoSbub gzhung gtsang po valley, in a series of interconnected benches and hollows that rise above the valley floor. The site has long views to the east. Most other views from this sheltered location are constrained by the local topography. NakgyamNag gyam consists of not less than six funerary structures built of unshaped light-colored metamorphic rocks (?), which are generally 20 cm to 80 cm in length. In addition to more minor structural traces, major structures may have been overlooked during the survey because of the large and diffuse nature of the NakgyamNag gyam site. Also, these superficial funerary structures are not so easy to recognize among the naturally occurring rocky convolutions of the site. NakgyamNag gyam was well suited to funerary activities, as this location is not particularly conducive to pastoral, agricultural or settlement activities.

Oral tradition

According to local sources, NakgyamNag gyam is associated with the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (3 m by 1.5 m) is situated on a wide bench above the valley floor. It is the most southerly specimen at NakgyamNag gyam. FS1 is a fragmentary single-course rectangular enclosure whose perimeter walls are flush with the surface or which rise above it to a height of 20 cm. Small stones are scattered over the enclosure, many of which are partially submerged.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (12 m by 13 m) is a highly dissolute round enclosure. It is not clear whether the perimeter had orderly wall courses, heaped-stone walls or a combination thereof. The interior is free of structural elements save for a small pile of stones in the middle.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (12 m by 13 m) is situated 10.5 m northwest of FS2 in the same small hollow. This highly deteriorated, sub-rectangular enclosure appears to have had a heaped-stone wall perimeter. A few stones are strewn around the interior of the enclosure.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (17 m by 14 m) is situated immediately north of FS2 and FS3 in another hollow. FS4 appears to have consisted of two interconnected irregularly shaped cells. Most of this highly fragmentary enclosure exhibits a heaped-stone wall perimeter. There is also a double-course wall segment (8 m long, 1 m thick) of upright stones on the east side of the structure.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (17 m by 13 m) is an ovoid enclosure with both double-course and heaped-stone walls. On the uphill side of the structure, the perimeter is comprised of a random-rubble dry-stone wall (60 cm high) that was built into the side of the hollow. The interior of FS5 is free of structural elements. Mostly larger stones were used to construct FS5.

Funerary Structure FS6

Funerary structure FS6 occupies another hollow. This structure is elevated about 50 cm above ground level. Its perimeter consists of double-course walls (around 60 cm thick). The south wall of FS6 is the most intact. The interior of this structure is almost completely sheathed in stones with no ordered stonework discernable. FS6 (6 m by 6.3 m) has two sides that are indented to create a modified L-shaped plan. These indentations in the walls are 1.7 m and 2.6 m in length.

Funerary Structure FS7

Funerary structure FS7 (15 m by 9 m), a sub-rectangular enclosure, is situated 11 m north of FS6. This hard to recognize heaped-stone wall structure was built with rocks up to 1 m in length. The perimeter walls are 50 cm to 1.2 m in height. The interior of the enclosure is somewhat depressed.

Funerary Structure FS8

Funerary structure FS8 is a sub-rectangular enclosure from which many stones have been extracted. A contemporary charnel ground (durtrö’dur khrod) is located in the vicinity, and the removal of stones from FS8 may be related to this cultural feature.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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