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Tibet Archaeology
2011 Dec 09


For Tibet Archaeology, and all things Tibetan, I strongly recommend the online resource of John Vincent Bellezza, scholar, explorer, writer, and pilgrim. He is widely recognized as one of the foremost specialists in the archaeology and cultural history of Upper Tibet. He has lived in the high Himalaya for over a quarter of a century.

Iron Age megaliths of Upper Tibet

A senior research fellow at the Tibet Center, University of Virginia, John Vincent Bellezza has written extensively on the nomads, history and culture of Upper Tibet. A pioneer in his field, he is credited with the discovery of hundreds of pre-Buddhist archaeological sites, describing the monuments and the people that built them in great detail. The Iron Age civilization he has charted is associated with Zhang Zhung, Tibet's fabled ancient kingdom and source of much of her culture.

Rock art chariot found in northwestern Tibet

John recently sent me the Newsletter for November 2011; it revealed the amount of ancient cultural material yet to be discovered and documented in Tibet, but also the serious need for an effective plan for its preservation and conservation.

Welcome on another Flight of the Khyung! This month and in the months to follow this newsletter shall highlight discoveries made on the Upper Tibet Rock Art Expedition II (UTRAE II). I am pleased to report that this recent mission was an unmitigated success. Twenty-four different rock art sites were surveyed, four of which were documented for the first time. Among the 24 rock sites visited this year were five that were surveyed earlier by Sonam Wangdu and Li Yongxian. This was my first opportunity to visit these rock art theatres. Most of the other 15 sites were documented by me in the 1990s and 2000s. Revisiting them was to very good effect, because hundreds of new compositions came to light including those of considerable importance. Working intensively for more than five weeks, I managed to shoot more than 11,000 photographs, the most taken on a single expedition.

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