Tibet Archaeology

and all things Tibetan

Newsletter Archive

A monthly newsletter dedicated to Tibetan archaeology, Tibetan cultural history, Tibetan art history, Tibetan spirit-mediums, the Bon religion, Tibetological conferences, and personal expeditionary activities and journal entries, as well as Nepal, Indian Himalaya, Karakorum, Hindu Kush, Mongolia, environmental issues, international relations, and human consciousness. Each issue is between 1500 and 24,400 words in length.

2017

June 2017: Cutting Horns and Thundering Hooves: Wild yak portrayals in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 3; The Ancient Burials of Mustang: A review of a recent article by Mark Aldenderfer and Jacqueline T. Eng

May 2017: The Hidden Rock Art of Ladakh, by Viraf Mehta; Cutting Horns and Thundering Hooves: Wild yak portrayals in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 2; Enduring Tibetan Legacy: A review of an article concerning the genetic make-up of ancient Mustang

April 2017: Cutting Horns and Thundering Hooves: Wild yak portrayals in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 1

March 2017: Abode of Meditation and Magic: A survey of the ancient residential center of Defender Master (Gondak); Brief Comments on Three Recent Scientific Articles regarding the Peopling of the Tibetan Plateau

February 2017: Stones of the Heavens: Two stelar necropolises discovered on the western Changthang; A Review of a Recently Published Article: “A 5500 Year Model of Changing Crop Niches on the Tibetan Plateau”

January 2017: Talus-blanketed Red House Necropolis of Upper Tibet: Cross-cultural exchanges with the north at the end of the Bronze Age – Part 2: The wider Inner Asian archaeological context; The Warrior God Cult in Upper Tibet: Considering new evidence of its importance

2016

December 2016: Talus-blanketed Red House Necropolis of Upper Tibet: Cross-cultural exchanges with the north at the end of the Bronze Age – Part 1: Indigenous characteristics

November 2016: Before the Mural and Scroll Painting: Rock Art in Ancient Tibet

October 2016: The Petroglyphs of Kharool: The New Alchi of Ladakh by Quentin Devers; Discovery of Three Mascoid Carvings on a Boulder in Spiti

September 2016: Bravery, Propitiation and Accomplishment: Wild yak hunting in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 3

August 2016: Bravery, Propitiation and Accomplishment: Wild yak hunting in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 2

July 2016: Bravery, Propitiation and Accomplishment: Wild yak hunting in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 1

June 2016: A Mirror of Cultural History on the Roof of the World: The swastika in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 2

May 2016: The Final Frontier: The rock art of the upper Nubra valley, Ladakh, by Viraf Mehta; A Mirror of Cultural History on the Roof of the World: The swastika in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 1

April 2016: A Review of a Recent Scientific Article: “Earliest tea as evidence for one branch of the Silk Road across the Tibetan Plateau”; Art and Shelter: An ancient settlement in far western Tibet

March 2016: A Preliminary Study of the Origins and Early Development of Bronze Metallurgy on the Western Tibetan Plateau, Part 2: Intercultural contacts in the Bronze Age and Iron Age, an archaeometallurgical perspective

February 2016: A Preliminary Study of the Origins and Early Development of Bronze Metallurgy on the Western Tibetan Plateau, Part 1: The ‘Eurasian animal style’, an art historical perspective

January 2016: The Ancient Burial Sites of Spiti: The indigenous socioeconomic and cultural order and trans-regional communications in the era before the spread of Buddhism; The gZi of Spiti, by James Wainright; A Cist Burial in Upper Lahul, by Neil Howard

2015

December 2015: The Ancient Castles of Spiti: The indigenous socioeconomic and cultural order and trans-regional communications in the era before the spread of Buddhism

November 2015: A Survey of the Rock Art of Spiti – Part 3; Ahead into the Historical Era: Non-Tibetan rock inscriptions in Spiti

October 2015: A better definition of Bon in 508 words; A Survey of the Rock Art of Spiti – Part 2

September 2015: A Survey of the Rock Art of Spiti – Part 1

August 2015: Visitations from Upper Tibet and Ladakh: A survey of trans-regional rock art in Spiti

July 2015: A Comprehensive Introduction to the Rock Art of Spiti

June 2015: A Review of the Early Cultural History of Spiti – Part Two; Interviews with Jowa, Luyar and Other Luminaries in Spiti; A Brief Report on the Oldest Residences of Spiti

May 2015: Spotlight on Spiti; A Review of the Early Cultural History of Spiti – Part One

April 2015: Diverting History from Oblivion: A plan to conserve the archaeological heritage of Upper Tibet

March 2015: The Prehistoric collection of the Tibet Museum in Lhasa – Part Two

February 2015: The Prehistoric collection of the Tibet Museum in Lhasa – Part One; Early Agriculture in Tibet: A Review of a recent scientific paper by d’Alpoim Guedes et al.

January 2015: More Ancient Khyung in the Rock Art of Upper Tibet; A definition of Bon in 358 words; Senseless Greed: The irreparable loss of the ancient Buddhist murals of Mangdrak; Standing Proudly: Early equine art in Upper Tibet

2014

December 2014: A Scintillating Visage: Another golden burial mask comes to light; Serpentine Signs: Tibetan copper alloy artifacts with animal style motifs; A Further Note on the Tibetan Animal Style

November 2014: Sinuous Shapes: The Eurasian animal style rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 2

October 2014: Sinuous Shapes: The Eurasian animal style rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 1

September 2014: Horned, Feathered and Sanctified: Extraordinary anthropomorphs in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 2; A Review of Parallels in the Funerary Traditions of the Xiongnu and Tibetans

August 2014: Ancient Tibetan Bridle Finally Sees the Light of Day; Horned, Feathered and Sanctified: Extraordinary anthropomorphs in the rock art of Upper Tibet – Part 1

July 2014: A Bon Stronghold Past and Present: The lakeside settlement of Gyer Ru Tsho Do; Exquisitely Carved Chortens from Far Western Tibet

June 2014: A nexus of ancient settlement in Upper Tibet: Revisiting Bell Island; The largest archaic shrine complex discovered in Upper Tibet

May 2014: Don’t Devalue Tibet: It is not merely a ‘culture’, it is a ‘civilization’; Review of the website called “Tibetan Tumulus Tradition”; Bronze cowries and a bronze knucklebone: Markers of cosmopolitanism in the ancient artifacts of Tibet; Archaeological sites in Upper Tibet: Accelerating pace of destruction

April 2014: Tombs recently discovered in the High Himalaya of India; Chronicles in Stone: The ancient fortresses of Lake Dangra Yumtsho

March 2014: Three Delights: One of the oldest continually inhabited villages in Tibet

February 2014: To be or not to be a shaman: Extraordinary anthropomorphic figures in Upper Tibet and Siberia; The haunts of Dragu Ngongen: Yesterday’s venerable cultural hero, today’s wily ancestor

January 2014: Hunters, Warriors, Shamans and Lovers: Chronicles of ancient life at Thakhampa Ri – Part II; Tigers in ancient western Tibet: More evidence

2013

December 2013: The golden burial mask of Shamsi; An overview of golden masks from Inner Asia: A contribution by Sören Stark; More on the golden mask from Malari; Hunters, Warriors, Shamans and Lovers: Chronicles of ancient life at Thakhampa Ri – Part I; The golden burial mask of Shamsi: An overview of golden masks from Inner Asia, by contribution by Sören Stark

November 2013: The primordial letter A and swastika and chorten painted on stone: The ancient cave sanctuary of Darlung Phukpa; The ancient art and architecture of Dokhor Phukpa; Visages of the past: The golden burial masks of Upper Tibet, the Himalaya and northwestern Xinjiang

October 2013: A new archaeological discovery in Upper Tibet: Early encounters between Buddhism and the indigenous cults

September 2013: The IATS XIII in Ulan Bator; The dorje: Symbol par excellence of Tibetan Buddhism; A shadowy figure on the rock; Slicing and dicing the past: More evidence from the rock art record; From my archives

August 2013: A unique collection of ancient ceremonial monuments both drawn and carved; Tibetan turquoise: Beaming stone of life; “Antique Tibetan and Chinese Turquoise”, text and photographs by James Wainwright; “Notes and Addendum on: Tibetan Turquoise: Beaming stone of life”, text and photographs by Stephen Shucart; “Excerpt from an article pertaining to turquoise”, by Samten G. Karmay

July 2013: Adding a little color to things: The polychrome rock art of Upper Tibet; The Neolithic in Upper Tibet: Prospects for further research and exploration; The Stone Age in Ladakh

June 2013: Gyapa Jo Khar of Nyarma; Gyapa Jo Khar and the historical signification of the term Zhang Zhung; The stone-roofed structures of Ladakh, by Quentin Devers

May 2013: Thirteen Golden Reliquaries; Pillars of the ancients; The origins of the Tibetan people: A review of “Modeling the Neolithic on the Tibetan Plateau”

April 2013: The origins of Demon Destroyer; The precinct of Demon Destroyer; The structures of Demon Destroyer

March 2013: Curves of history: The composite bow in Upper Tibet

February 2013: A little more on the stone bust featured last month; A tough and rough world: lovely Lake Nam Tsho violated; Of a different form: Tabernacles of the ancients

January 2013: High on the khyung; An ancient stone figure from western Tibet; Lucky but different: Non-standard auspicious symbols

2012

December 2012: Mysterious and alluring: metal and stone parallels; More strange figures or symbols; Making music the old way; Ancient piscine rock art

November 2012: Palimpsests: the superimposition of images and inscriptions

October 2012: More felines of ancient Tibet; Archaic residential sites surveyed in 2000; Selected journal excerpts from the Upper Tibetan Antiquities Expedition

September 2012: Changing Ladakh; My (Bellezza’s) visit to Stok Mon Khar; Three more ancient tombs excavated in Gurgyam; Review of six recently published papers on the history of Bon written by Henk Blezer and Christopher I. Beckwith concerning the historical and cultural character of Zhang-zhung, the possible location of its capital, and the use of the term bon in Old Tibetan sources; Exploring ancient Ladakh, by Martin Vernier; Stok Mon Khar, by Martin Vernier

August 2012: A brief introduction to the tiger in Tibetan culture; Ancient tigers in Upper Tibet; Tigers in the rock art of Upper Tibet

July 2012: It may or may not be god; Divine riders of the unfettered; Before there was the Buddhist stupa in Tibet

June 2012: Regiment Valley

May 2012: The exploration of the great Sutlej River Valley Citadel; Sutlej River Valley Citadel in figures and photos

April 2012: A major center of civilization in Upper Tibet, circa the 3rd century CE; Supplement on Khardong and on the Zhang Zhung capital

March 2012: Bactrian camels up on high; Inner Asian rock art: more interconnected than I realized earlier; Another key revision concerning the age of rock art

February 2012: Figures from foreign lands?; Pillars marking the ages; Flying high: Horse racing in Upper Tibet

January 2012: The horned eagle: Tibet’s greatest ancestral and religious symbol across the ages; Contemporary threats to rock art in Upper Tibet

2011

December 2011: The individual or group in emblematic form: the mascoids of Upper Tibet

November 2011: Revisiting the chariots of Upper Tibet; The systematic destruction of Guge’s ancient chortens; More on the golden funerary masks of the Himalaya

October 2011: The latest in Tibetan archaeology

September 2011: The big event in Chengdu, China

August 2011: The estates of the ancients: Residential sites surveyed around Lake Dangra; The Changthang Circuit Expedition: A retrospective from my journals

July 2011: Great lakes of the western Changthang; From my journals

June 2011: Insuring the peace, protecting in war: the ancient fortresses of Upper Tibet; A Retrospective: Crossing between two provinces of the Tibetan cultural entity

May 2011: Six archaic fortresses of Upper Tibet; Zhang Zhung’s fabled capital?

April 2011: Drink to your heart’s content: The mythic origins and poetry of libations in ancient Tibet; The most ancient carvings of letters discovered on stone slabs in Tibet

March 2011: Walled-in pillars of the heights; The biggest pictograph in Upper Tibet; Lion fixed, lion movable: ancient Tibetan feline sculpture; A comment on a recent archaeological find in Nepal

February 2011: Celebration of the great passing: A retrospective on Upper Tibet’s concourses of standing stones appended to temple-tombs; A really big western Tibetan fibula

January 2011: The all-stone corbelled edifices of Ladakh; The magical letter A of Upper Tibet

2010

December 2010: A strange spell from atop a mountain; The all-stone corbelled shrines of western Tibet and Ladakh; Rare collectable artifacts from Upper Tibet

November 2010: Recently discovered pre-Buddhist necropoli in Upper Tibet; The pillage of Upper Tibet

October 2010: The deer: symbol of well-being, sacrifice and the divine; The Mon burials of Montsher: a preliminary report; More on the silk recovered from the Montsher burial

September 2010: Altogether then: cosmogonic symbolism in prehistoric Upper Tibet; The ancient bon religious centers of Mangkhar; Buddhist history of Mangkhar; The unabashed male: naked and powerful

August 2010: Riding high: the chariots of ancient Upper Tibet

July 2010: Faces of ancient Tibet and Mongolia; A bronze dagger discovered in western Tibet; Gold objects surface in Central Tibet; The main gateway of Mount Nyenchen Thanglha

June 2010: A little side note on climate change; Murder and mystery in the Himalaya; The in situ natural mind: A 1000-year old Bon hermitage in Upper Tibet

May 2010: The jungle of Tibet on February 1, 1987; A primer on cognate copper alloy objects of the Slab Grave culture and Tibet

April 2010: A traverse of the Hindu Kush Range in Indus Kohistan; Ancient ceremonial structures of Upper Tibet and Indus Kohistan

March 2010: The setting of an Expedition; Weaving sashes; Surveying the little things; The spatial organization of a drokpa encampment

February 2010: Divine soundings from the great female lakes

January 2010: A senior spirit-medium of Lake Uru

2009

December 2009: To generate or not to generate carbon emissions; Shamans reaching high above; The life and work of Phowo Sridgyal

November 2009: The ‘God’ Men and Women of Upper Tibet; Lha-pa Bon-nyid (Interviewed on September 23–25, 2005)

October 2009: Ngari Cultural Heritage Conservation: A Clarion Call for Help; Mangdrak; Shenrab Miwo and the Future Trajectory of Religion in Tibet

September 2009: Where is the Mind?; High Living; Lhasa Today

August 2009: To the Opposite Side of the Tibetan Plateau; Towers Touching the Sky

July 2009: Sound the Alarm: The Destruction of Zhang Zhung’s Capital Aided and Abetted by Swiss Nationals; The KM-III Expedition to Mount Kailas; Rubbish the pilgrim: Clean up or put up

June 2009: The Discovery of Ancient Tibetan Texts; Essential Characteristics of an Illuminated Tibetan Funerary Scroll; A Bon Monastery in the Lhasa Environs; Pilgrimage and Recreation: The Re-creation of a Lhasa Holy Site

May 2009: The Magnificent Jain Temple at Mount Kailas; From My Journals

April 2009: Ode to the Birds of Spring; Cross-currents in a Himachal Pradesh Hill Town; The Gaddis of Himachal Pradesh

March 2009: Tibetan Muslims; A Little More on Himalayan Climate Change; From My Journals: A Trip to the Lahoul Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh, India

February 2009: Going, going, gone! The melting of the Tibetan glaciers; Another Hindu Kush Retrospective

January 2009: Doings in December; From My Old Journals: A Hindu Kush Retrospective

2008

December 2008: More about Tamchok Ngangpa Do; Power Cuts in the Kathmandu Valley; Pollution City

November 2008: The Current State of Affairs in Tibet; Pyramids and the Latest Archaeological Discovery in Upper Tibet

October 2008: Feline Fancy; A New Book Project

September 2008: Religion, Your Personal Choice?; A Shot in the Arm for Buddhism; Chinggis Khaan’s Shamanism as Today’s National Religion; My Tour and the State of Archaeology in Mongolia

August 2008: Focus on Mongolia!

July 2008: A Very Early Monsoon; Ecolands: Ecological Zones of Consensus

June 2008: The Shukden Problem Revisited

May 2008: Springtime Recollections; Dancing and the disappearing forest in Chitral, Pakistan

April 2008: The Fate of Tibet; Focus on Baltistan; The Raja of Khapalu, August 31, 1990

March 2008: An Early Himalayan Spring; A Walk Around Mount Kailas, Tibet’s Great Sacred Mountain

February 2008: Big Worldwide Web Work Gearing Up for Publication; For the Record

January 2008: Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives; Synopsis of My New Book; From the Pages of My Journals

2007

December 2007: Have you had your Daily Bread?; I got Mine so get Yours

November 2007: My Fellow Explorers; My Take on Culture Shock; A Brief Time in the USA; An Update on the Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Sites; A Narrative from the 2001 Season of Exploration

October 2007: Moving Right Along; Nepal in Freefall?

September 2007: Kathmandu Valley Sojourn; History in Tibet is not an Open Book

August 2007: Zhang Zhung nearly ready for publication; Three millennia of Tibetan cultural history in a nutshell

July 2007: Bon Reunion; Trends in the psychosocial development of China; International cooperation in the 21st century, the American experience

June 2007: Wild Yaks and Other Things on the Horizon; An Amazing Headland; Stag Rock; High up Heaven is Near; A Nexus of Tibetan Civilization

May 2007: Primal Callings; Sound the Alarm; Like Man’s Best Friend

April 2007: Hunting and Gathering Information; Lhasa (The Divine Land)

March 2007: Sitting and Running; August 22, 1986: After four weeks of hard travel from Lhasa, Mount Kailas appears on the horizon

February 2007: Wintertime Wonder; What Environment?; From My Old Journal Archive

January 2007: A Great Show in the Making; Another Himalayan Experience

2006

December 2006: Diverging Views, The Seminar on Tibetan History; From my Journals

November 2006: Menri Monastery Road Trip; More Adventures from Old Journals

October 2006: Writing, Walking and Flying; My trekking years

September 2006: Kathmandu, the hub of the Himalaya; My Himalayan hermitage; International Association of Tibetan Studies conference XI

August 2006: Inaugurating my newsletter; A little background on 2006; Looking ahead