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Archaeology - Prehistory

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Fossil Ancestors of Burma
Date of publication: October 1985
Description/subject: In this personal memoir, American palaeontologist Russell Ciochon recounts a 1978 trip into the Ponnyadaung hills west of Pale in central Myanmar in search of skeletal remains and fossils associated with early primates who lived in the area 40 million years ago. Ciochon and companions discovered little that was new, but the article highlights the discoveries made by renowned palaeontologist Barnum Brown of the American Museum of Natural History whose journey into the same area in 1923 yielded some of the first fossil evidence of an important link, known as Prosimii (or pre-apes), between lower and upper primates. This article also gives exposure to the work of U Ba Maw and U Thaw Tint of Mandalay University who have collected several small fossil jaws of primates in the same area.
Author/creator: Russell L. Ciochon
Language: English
Source/publisher: Natural History
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.uiowa.edu/~bioanth/burma.html
Date of entry/update: 29 August 2005

Individual Documents

Title: Bronze and Iron Age sites in Upper Myanmar: Chindwin, Samon, and Pyu
Date of publication: 20 March 2003
Description/subject: "The people moved about in quest of a place, "where water is clear and grass tender"... Since 1998, the Department of Archaeology has excavated seven Bronze and Iron Age cemetery sites in Upper Myanmar ... At the first three sites listed below, referred to here as the Chindwin group, the principal grave goods were pottery, stone tools, bronze axes and swords, and ceremonial stone rings. Similar artefacts have been recovered during survey at a number of sites in the Lower Chindwin ... At the other four excavated sites, the Samon group, the grave goods again included pottery, stone and bronze artefacts. Some pieces, such as stone rings, are comparable to those of the Chindwin, but for the most part are different in form and composition. Bronzes include "mother goddess" figures, kye doke (bronze packets), and floral coffin ornaments. Iron and glass artefacts were also recovered. These included weapons such as swords, spearheads and arrowheads and agricultural implements such as socketed hoes. The sites are part of a larger distribution extending south to at least to Pyinmana in the Samon valley on the east of the central Ayeyarwaddy basin..." ...text, photos and tables.
Author/creator: Elizabeth Moore
Language: English, Burmese
Format/size: pdf (595K) 16 pages.
Date of entry/update: 14 July 2010

Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA - Chapter 1: Prehistoric and Animist Periods
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: A. Prehistoric Sites: 1. Introduction - "As infrequent archaeological excavations have slowly revealed pieces of Burma's past, a better but still incomplete understanding of Burma's prehistory has slowly emerged. Scant archaeological evidence suggests that cultures existed in Burma as early as 11,000 BC, long before the more recent Burmese migrations that occurred after the 8th century AD. The conventional western divisions of prehistory into the Old Stone Age, New Stone Age and the Iron or Metal Age are difficult to apply in Burma because there is considerable overlap between these periods. In Burma, most indications of early settlement have been found in the central dry zone, where scattered sites appear in close proximity to the Irrawaddy River. Surprisingly, the artifacts from these early cultures resemble those from neighboring areas in Southeast Asia as well as India. Although these sites are situated in fertile areas, archaeological evidence indicates that these early people were not yet familiar with agricultural methods..."
Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/Cooler/BurmaArt_TOC.htm (Table of Contents)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Nyaung-gan: A Preliminary Note on a Bronze Age Cemetery near Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Date of publication: April 2001
Description/subject: Abstract: Preliminary excavations were made in 1998 at a cemetery south of Nyaung-gan Village, near Mandalay, in central Myanmar (Burma). The site is located on the edge of a volcanic crater; there are nearby copper deposits. Three main types of artifacts were recovered from the excavation: ceramics, stone rings, and bronzes. Survey of the surrounding area includes possible smelting and stone ring production sites. Much remains to be learned about the Nyaung-gan cemetery, but it is already clear that the finds from the site contribute greatly to the knowledge of Myanmar prehistory. Keywords: Burma, Myanmar, prehistory, Pyu, stone rings, Southeast Asia. moore and pauk . bronze age cemetery near mandalay 47" ... Summary: "Nyaung-gan adds a new dimension to the prehistory of Myanmar. Despite many differences between Pyu sites and their repertory of finds, the presence of Nyaung-gan type bronzes at Halin suggests the possibility of an earlier occupation of some Pyu sites. The cemetery location is also significant, both its siting on the crater and adjacent to the rich copper deposits on the opposite bank of the Chindwin. The area's low rainfall and access to navigable waterways links it to other sites in the central zone, Pyu, and Pagan. The discoveries at Nyaung-gan extend into prehistory a long-term pattern of occupation, technological developments, and the beginnings of urbanism within the most arid region of the country. Further research may also bear out evidence of continuity in mortuary practices between Pyu and earlier periods, such as the use of inhumation and urn burials. The possibility of Bronze Age burials at Pyu sites also deserves further investigation."
Author/creator: Elizabeth Moore and Pauk Pauk
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asian Perspectives: Journal of Archaeology for Asia & the Pacific, Vol. 40 issue 1 (Spring 2001) pp. 35-47
Format/size: pdf (155K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Remaking Myanmar and human origins
Date of publication: 04 August 1999
Description/subject: "...an account of the role of pagoda relics and museum fossils in SLORC-SPDC concepts of nation-building... Here I examine two notable features of this regime. Desperate for national and international recognition, it began the large-scale renovation and construction of pagodas, on the one hand, and museums, palaces and ancient monasteries on the other. These constructions have taken place on a scale and with a rapidity never before witnessed in the history of Southeast Asia. It has decided to renovate and rebuild all the thousands of pagodas in the 11th century capital Pagan. It is furthermore committing enormous funds to pagodas all over the country. At least two dozen new museums have been built. These house ancient heritage, but also the history of the army and the Pondaung fossils, that it claims represent the oldest humanoids of the world. The latter, it hopes, places the Myanmar people on the world's map as the oldest civilization. It also has rebuilt all ancient palaces in the ancient capitals. As I hope to show, these are vital elements at the heart of the regime's "new" ideology I have dubbed "Myanmafication", after their decision to rename the country Myanmar in 1989..."
Author/creator: Gustaaf Houtman
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Anthropology Today", Vol. 15, No. 4, August 1999, pp 13-19
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2010

Title: The Neolithic Culture of the Padah-Lin Caves
Date of publication: 27 June 1969
Description/subject: 1. Padah-Lin Cave; 2. Myanmar - History - Early period. Neolithic culture; Pre-historic painting. "This paper was read on 27 June 1969 at the Burma Research Society ordinary meeting. Padah-Lin cave is situated in Yangon Township, in the Southern Shan State. This paper is an excavation report of Padah-Lin cave." Illustrations of tools; photos of the cave; plan of the cave; maps.
Author/creator: U Aung Thaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of the Burma Research Society, Vol. 52, Part 1
Format/size: PDF (2.05 MB) 41 pages
Alternate URLs: http://aomar.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/the-neolithic-culture-of-the-padah-lin-caves/
Date of entry/update: 10 July 2010

Title: The Neolithic Culture of the Padah-Lin Caves
Date of publication: 27 June 1969
Description/subject: This paper was read on 27 June 1969 at the Burma Research Society ordinary meeting. Padah-Lin cave is situated in Yangon Township, in the Southern Shan State. This paper is an excavation report of Padah-Lin cave..... Subject: 1. Padah-Lin Cave 2. Myanmar - History - Early period..... Key Words: 1. Neolithic Culture 2. Prehistoric Painting
Author/creator: Aung Thaw, U
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Journal of the Burma Research Society", Vol. 52, Part 1, June 1969, pp9-23 via University of Washington
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB-reduced version: 2MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.lib.washington.edu/myanmar/pdfs/AT0001.pdf
Date of entry/update: 12 October 2014