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

Deumbur Nakri MöndurRde’u ’bur nag ri mon dur

Basic site data

  • Site name: Deumbur Nakri MöndurRde’u ’bur nag ri mon dur
  • English equivalent: Black Mountain Hill MönMon Tombs
  • Site number: D-48
  • Site typology: II.2a, II.1a
  • Elevation: 4880 m to 4890 m
  • Administrative location (township): DungruDung ru
  • Administrative location (county): RutokRu thog
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: May 30, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS II
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Deumbur Nakri MöndurRde’u ’bur nag ri mon dur is situated in the sandy valley bottom around the Deumbur NakriRde’u ’bur nag ri formation. This site is located in a region known as Arula GyapA ru la rgyab. This site consists of a slab-wall funerary superstructure with extremely high walls, a row of standing stones and a long wall of unknown provenance.

Oral tradition

In this region (RutokRu thog), sites such as Deumbur Nakri MöndurRde’u ’bur nag ri mon dur are often associated with the ancient MönMon.

Site elements


A row of about 14 small standing stones is found in sandy ground at the base of Deumbur NakriRde’u ’bur nag ri (33° 53.483΄ N. lat. / 82° 00.294΄ E. long. / 4890 m). At the time of installation, it is likely that the terrain was more stable than it is in the contemporary period, with its shifting sands. These pillars form a curved row, 10 m in length. The irregularly shaped stones are raised 20 cm to 75 cm above the current ground level, broken specimens notwithstanding. Mostly dark-colored, naturally occurring rocks were selected for erection. It is possible that there is more to this monument than meets the eye: parts of it may lie buried under the deep sand.

Long wall

Near the row of pillars there is a small highly deteriorated superstructure in the valley bottom (53.457΄ / 00.716΄ / 4880 m). On its uphill side there are the remains of a partly submerged wall 60 m in length that follows the same elevation contour. This wall, made of a single line of small upright stones, appears to be an ancient feature. On one end of this wall there are the remains of another highly degraded, small superstructure.

Slab-wall enclosure

A prominent slab-wall enclosure is found near the confluence of the Arula Gyap ChuA ru la rgyab chu and a stream flowing from the south (53.281΄ / 00.004΄ / 4880 m). It was built on flat sandy ground. Measuring 3 m by 2.5 m, the single-course perimeter of this enclosure is made up of thin upright slabs, 11 of which are still in situ. Other slabs lie broken on the ground beside the structure. Each of the in situ slabs is elevated more than 20 cm above ground level. The largest among them (45 cm long) is raised 70 cm above the surface. These slab walls may have been aligned in the cardinal directions, but they have shifted too much for a definite assessment. All the slabs are inclined at various angles through the effect of gravity. These naturally occurring, dark gray rocks are just 3 cm to 5 cm thick. All in all, this superstructure exhibits the most highly elevated slab walls of any superstructure surveyed to date. Due to its design, it superficially resembles tombs of the Slab Grave culture of north Inner Asia.194


[194] For an analysis of the Slab Grave culture and its affinities to the Upper Tibetan paleocultural complexion see Bellezza, Zhang Zhung, 123–126.

Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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