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6. Ritual Monument Batpalathang B3

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Archaeological Material (part 3)

Metal Objects

Two supposedly iron object were found ultimately above the chamber floor (in squares E4 and E5). The distance between the two objects was about 95 cm. Both items have similar shape and size (approximately 30 x 10 x 10 mm). Their shape reveals a U-crosscut. They are highly weathered by corrosion and their original size could only be revealed by X-ray observation. In our mind, those two artifacts are fragments of a single object, eventually a handle. No drawing or photographs are available for illustration at this stage.

A middle-sized riveted and articulated metal buckle was also found in peculiar conditions on the chamber floor (Fig. 47). It was during the emptying of accumulated rainwater, near campaign’s end and ultimately before we filled the chamber for protection, that a worker found this object. At first, we doubted the finding since the author excavated the chamber down to the floor. Many facts may explain that the object remained unnoticed during excavation: (1) the chamber floor presented a few shallow depressions, (2) the chamber floor was unpaved, and (3) the rainwater has softened the floor sediment. The morphologic type of the buckle, the raw material it is made from, and the verdigris patina make it clear that this artifact is historic in age and belongs to the monument. The preservation of the object is very good, with almost not visible trace of corrosion or oxidation. The exact composition of the metal buckle is not yet defined, but it seems obvious that it is not iron but more probably a brass-based alloy.

Fig. 47

The Tibetan bronze coin found in 1998 (Fig. 48) in a superficial layer in the vicinity of the platform B3 revealed to be fairly recent (1932). Its presence at this spot is not particularly astonishing, since Tibetan coinage was regularly used for trade. Moreover, a large number of people living in the Choskhor valley are from Tibetan origin. The coin was described in detail in our preliminary report for the 1999 campaign (Blumer and Vial 1999: 246-247). Thus, we will just summarize its main features here: diameter = 23.5 mm; head side: centered sun and snow lion symbols, four peripheral inscriptions in Tibetan (meaning “victorious over all directions”); reverse side: gem symbol and value indicator (“1 Sho”) in center, five peripheral lotus flower symbols and five alternate Tibetan inscriptions (meaning that the coin was stamped in the 21st year of the reign of Rab Dshung 16). Based on the analysis by Mr. Loten Dahortsang, this coin has been produced in the foundry of Gra ‘bshi ‘dngul par khang in Tibet in 1932.

Fig. 48

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Copyright 2001, Reto Blumer, Switzerland
Copyright 2001, SLFA Zürich, Switzerland

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Last updated: 29-05-2001.