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.

Site elements

Central sector

South pillar complex enclosure

The south pillar complex enclosure is aligned in the cardinal directions and measures 22.5 m (east-west) by 12 m (north-south). The north wall of the enclosure is shorter than the south wall, creating a gap of 2 m in the east wall. The double-course perimeter walls (around 60 cm thick) contain a single layer of flat stones, which are flush with the ground surface or which project above it to a maximum height of 20 cm.

South pillar complex pillars

Near the southwest corner of the enclosure, 60 cm from the inner edge of the south wall, there is a broken dark gray grained tabular pillar (1.3 m [height] by 1.4 m [basal girth]). The broken top of this pillar (Long-stone DR1) lies in close proximity to the rooted portion. It added another 60 cm to the overall height of the pillar. Local residents report that this break occurred before living memory. The broad sides of DR1 are oriented to the north and south. DR1 has weathered to a reddish color in many places. Roughly centered between the north and south walls of the enclosure there is a less massive light gray tabular pillar (1.5 m by 1 m). This pillar (Long-stone DR2) stands 30 cm from the inner edge of the west wall. The broad sides of DR2 are oriented to the east and west, an uncommon alignment. Given its orientation and relative placement in the enclosure perhaps it was re-erected in the past. DR2 is moderately inclined and sports orange climax lichen on its north and east sides. Some stones are piled around the base of this pillar. There are also four small, broken dark gray pillars that form a row along the west half of north wall of the enclosure. There is also a partly submerged dislodged pillar (1.3 m long) in close proximity to DR1. The eccentric positions of the two tall in situ pillars and the very large size of the enclosure may suggest that originally there were more standing stones than at present.

North pillar complex enclosure

The north pillar complex is situated 47 m south of the south pillar complex at about 5 m lower elevation (35.838΄ / 49΄ 981΄). The fragmentary enclosure is aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 22 m (east-west) by 32 m (north-south). The enclosure walls are of the same construction as those of the north pillar complex, only narrower (around 45 cm thick).

North pillar complex pillars

There is a single standing pillar of four uneven faces inside the enclosure (1.6 m by 1.3 m). This dark gray grained pillar stands 2 m from the inner edge of the west wall and is in fairly close proximity to the northwest corner of the enclosure. This highly eroded pillar has weathered to a reddish color. In close proximity to the standing specimen there is a partly submerged uprooted pillar (1.5 m long) made of the same type of rock. The very large size of the enclosure suggests that it may have contained more than just two menhirs.

Large rectangular enclosure East

A large rectangular funerary enclosure is situated 50 m west of the north pillar complex (35.842΄ / 49.932΄). This enclosure is aligned in the compass points, and measures 35 m (east-west) by 19 m (east-west). This highly degraded structure possesses double-course walls of similar but perhaps cruder construction than the two enclosures housing the pillars. The interior of this enclosure is free of structural traces.

Large rectangular enclosure West

Another large rectangular structure of analogous design and construction is situated 11 m to the west of its counterpart (35.840΄ 49.916΄). This better-preserved enclosure is also aligned in the cardinal directions and measures 36 m (north-south) by 20 m (east-west). In the middle of the interior there are two or three highly fragmentary structures (around 3 m across), which form an east-west row. The interior structures seem to have double-course perimeter walls and were probably aligned in the cardinal direction. These structures may possibly be grave markers.

North sector

South tumulus

The south tumulus (bangsobang so) is situated 30 m north of the north pillar complex (35.863΄ / 49.959΄). The south tumulus is aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 12 m (east-west) by 10 m (north-south). This quadrate mound is around 1 m or less in height. Around its rim are traces of double-course walls. These walls appear to be of the same design and construction as the various enclosures of the site. There are also wall traces of the same type near the middle of the top tumulus. Between the south tumulus and north pillar complex there may be the remains of a minor superficial structure.

North tumulus

The north tumulus is situated 7 m north of the south tumulus (35.878΄ / 49.961΄). This enormous structure is roughly aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 47 m (north-south) by 27 m (east-west). It is 2 m to 4 m in height. The north tumulus is the largest manmade or anthropenically modified mound surveyed to date in Upper Tibet. It could not be determined if the north tumulus is fully an artificial mound or a natural feature that was modified through human agency. There are tiny double-course wall fragments near the south rim of the structure. These wall fragments run parallel and perpendicular to one another and are not aligned in the cardinal directions. Beginning on the north flank of the tumulus and continuing in a northerly direction for 6 m there is a double-course wall segment (40 cm thick).


There is an enclosure of the type found throughout the Pelmo DoringDpal mo rdo ring, situated 15.5 m west of the north tumulus (35.877΄ / 49.933΄). This square enclosure (14 m by 13 m) is roughly aligned in the cardinal directions. Its double-course perimeter walls are 60 cm to 70 cm in thickness. Another enclosure, which is bereft of its east wall, is situated 20 m west of the south tumulus (35.931΄ / 49.672΄). This square enclosure (10 m by 10.7 m) is generally aligned in the cardinal directions. It is of the style of enclosure construction familiar at the site. The stones of the perimeter walls project as much as 35 cm above ground level. Between these two well delineated square structures there are the remains of a smaller, more obscured enclosure. A small rectangular enclosure is also found east of Pelmo DoringDpal mo rdo phur before reaching Luma KarmoLu ma dkar mo.

South sector

Most of the funerary enclosures of the south sector have superficial perimeter walls (45 cm to 1 m thick) containing one layer of two or more stones laid abreast of one another. The stones of the walls are level with the ground surface or project above it to a maximum height of 30 cm. These enclosures have open interiors and are all situated at the same general elevation. There are also smaller enclosures with single-course perimeter walls, a few of which may have had interior structural features.

West complex

The west complex consists of seven small ovoid or sub-rectangular enclosures (2 m to 2.7 m across) arrayed in an arc around a main enclosure (26 m by 17 m) (35.782΄ / 49.883΄ / 4590 m). There may also have been an eighth satellite enclosure situated between the two most northerly specimens. The most northerly satellite enclosure appears to have been excavated: a heap of stones lie in a depression in the middle of the structure. The main enclosure is subdivided by walls into four or five quadrate cells of various sizes. The forward wall of the main enclosure is elevated about 1 m above the downhill slope. A gully bounds the west side of the west complex.

West central complex

The west central complex is located 43 m east of the west complex (35.764΄ / 49.911΄). It is dominated by a highly degraded enclosure that is generally aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 22 m (east-west) by 7.5 m (north-south). The south wall of this enclosure is slightly depressed above the uphill slope in order to maintain a level interior This enclosure is subdivided into four cells of roughly equal size. The easternmost cell has been heavily damaged by a rivulet that flows over it in times of heavy precipitation.

East central complex

The east central complex is situated 50 m east of the west central complex and 52 m south of the south pillar complex (35.766΄ / 49.968΄). It is also dominated by a large enclosure that is generally aligned in the cardinal directions. This enclosure measures 38 m (east-west) by 15 m (north-south), and is subdivided into six cells of varying sizes. These six cells are not arrayed symmetrically. On the west side of the main enclosure there are two more enclosures situated at a slightly lower elevation. There is also a small enclosure on the northwest side of the main enclosure. A sub-rectangular single-course enclosure (2.3 m across) is situated 3 m west of the main enclosure.

East complex

The east complex is situated 23 m east of the east central complex (35.770΄ / 50.001΄). The dominant enclosure of the east sector measures 30 m (east-west) by 15 m (north-south). It is subdivided into two larger south cells and one smaller north cell. The southeast cell is set about 1 m below the uphill slope. An isolated enclosure fragment (2.5 m across) is located 8 m west of the main enclosure. A large boulder reposes in isolation just south of the main enclosure. It may have been transported to its present location as an integral feature of the east sector.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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