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

Tsodo MöndurMtsho do mon dur

Basic site data

  • Site name: Tsodo MöndurMtsho do mon dur
  • English equivalent: Lake Island MönMon Tombs
  • Site number: D-129
  • Site typology: II.2x
  • Elevation: 4840 m
  • Administrative location (township): RuntorRu ’thor
  • Administrative location (county): Drongpa’Brong pa
  • Survey expedition: TILE
  • Survey date: February 25, 2006
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VI, HAS D1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Tsodo MöndurMtsho do mon dur is located on the southeast side of TsodoMtsho do, the largest island of Upper Tibet. This 12 km long island rises out of the great salt lake, Ngangla RingtsoNgang la ring mtsho. Tsodo MöndurMtsho do mon dur is situated in a locale known as KochungKo chung (sp.?). It has open views across the Ngangla RingtsoNgang la ring mtsho basin to the east. Five enclosures were detected at Tsodo MöndurMtsho do mon dur. These structures appear to have a funerary identity and are found on sandy and rock benches. They are primarily constructed from a light-colored, hard, fine-grained rock of variable length (10 cm to 80 cm long). The structures are in a very poor state of preservation, precluding a close assessment of their design characteristics. It appears that these structures had heaped-stone walls. Double-course perimeter walls may also be represented among them. It is quite possible that other structures were overlooked in the rocky terrain during the survey.

There is also an archaic residential settlement consisting of all-stone corbelled edifices on TsodoMtsho do (B-131), which is located just over 2 km from the funerary structures. These two sites may be interrelated, as the twin burial and residential components of ancient settlement on the island. SemodoSe mo do (D-127) and TsodoMtsho do, two large islands, both appear to support funerary sites. This is not the case on the smaller Upper Tibetan islands with archaic cultural sites. Perhaps a certain minimum physical distance between residential installations and burial grounds was considered desirable by the ancient inhabitants of the islands.

Oral tradition

According to local sources, Tsodo MöndurMtsho do mon dur is associated with the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (3.4 m by 5 m) is an irregularly shaped enclosure with unordered perimeter walls. These walls reach a maximum height of 30 cm. FS1 has a northeastern aspect.

Funerary structures FS2 to FS5 are clustered a little to the southwest of FS1 and all have an eastern aspect.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (3.5 m by 2.7 m) is a rectangular structure that appears to be aligned in the cardinal directions. FS2 was established on a narrow bench and is entirely covered in loose stones.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (6.7 m by 7 m) is situated 12.7 m upslope of FS2. This ovoid or sub-rectangular structure with an open interior was built into a fairly steep slope. Stones are piled up to a height of 90 cm on its south/forward flank. The slippage of the slope has obliterated much of the upper portion of the structure.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (6.6 m by 4.8 m) is situated 1 m north of FS3. This ovoid structure has the same setting as FS3 and was built into a fairly steep slope. Its highly degraded perimeter walls enclose an open interior.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (4.5 m by 4.8 m) is situated 1 m north of FS4 and was also built into a fairly steep slope. The perimeter walls of this ovoid enclosure are in an advanced state of disintegration.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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