Cultural and Tradition

There are many evidences of early Myanmar Bronze age Burial sites in central Myanmar especially in Monywa, Salingyi, Budalin, and KyaukPaDaung townships. Myanmar Anthropologists and Archaeologists recently excavate one of those Nyaung-gan bronze age sites in Budalin Township.

Nyaung-gan bronze age burial site is located 1 ½ miles to the North-West of Nyaung-gan village in Budalin township of Sagaing division, central Myanmar. It is near the well-known crater-lake called Twin-taung, an extinct volcano. The site is a farmyard measuring 600' * 250' and is a hillock, sloping westwards .The surface soil is clay mixed with tiny pebbles. The site was excavated from 29-1-98 to 18-3-98. 15' * 15' square grids were excavated. Bronze age Early Myanmar skeletons were found. Those were buried offerings such as potteries, bronze weapons, stone rings, beads, lead sheets and heads of cattle.

Bronze age Early Myanmar skeletal remains were found at every square. Those were identified as 9 males, 5 females, 1 child and 13 incomplete skeletons. Here, it would be the burial site of Early Myanmar sedentary life in Bronze Age at Nyaung-gan. The skeletal remains are found at the maximum depth of 2'-10" from the surface and some are shallower. The skeletons are placed head towards North. Only the two are oriented towards South. Here, orientation seems to be aligned to the Pole Star. Such burial system is seldom found and it may show the high thinking power of Early Myanmar i.e. they know how to use the Pole Star. The length of the skeleton measure 3' to 5'8" ranging from child to adult. The majority would be of 5'7" in height. According to anthropometrics measurements, their head indexes are mostly monocephalic. So their round head show the Mongoloid feature. Most of the skeletons are buried in extended position. The head and body are resting on the ground while the two hands are tested on their thigh. Many skeletons are found side by side. Moreover, a few skeletons are buried on upon another up to 3 layers (pit no.4).

Normally, primary burial practice prevailed at Nyaung-gan site. But secondary burial practice also occurred (pit no.1). Here, the skull is placed on his Jaw in normal correct position. It is fended by a row of 5 red pots. It would be a kind of ritual style. The teeth of that skull are more decayed than other remains of the site. Most of other skulls have complete teeth in a good state of preservation. Therefore, that skull may be earlier than others and may belong to their ancestor or tribal chief. This can be a kind of Nyaung-gan Early Myanmar ancestor worship.
Bronze Age Nyaung-gan Early Myanmar buried different kind of burial offering along with their dead body. Those include pot vies such as round pots, convex based pots. Oil lamps, plates and lastly crucibles. The diameter of the largest pot is 22" while that of the smallest is 1.5". The majority of the pots are medium sized, round based pottery. A peculiar type of earthenware is a plate having 3 knobs on it. Some pots bear three or four string-holes attached to the body.

In some cases, small pots once filled with something are put inside a large pot and small crucibles were buried near the head or at the foot of the dead body (pit no.4). They used potter's wheel and mostly are plain-wares. Those were seemed to be specially made for the burial purpose only.

The most striking burial offerings of Nyaung-gan early Myanmar are the socked bronze weapons, polished stone-rings and cylindrical beads in association with their dead bodies.
Some of the Bronze weapons are found placed in the hands of the skeleton, which shows that those weapons were buried together with the user at the time of their death. Most of the Bronze weapons are spearheads in different size and shape. The largest socked (with reinforcement) bronze spearhead measures 2" wide and 11" long. The smallest bronze arrow-head (without socket) is ½ " width and 2" length. Here, a peculiar socked bronze hatchet that has a strange flaring edge (like shoe) is also found.

The other interesting burial offerings at Nyaung-gan site are polished stone rings. Those are found put on wrist-bone of the skeletons. Those bracelets were made of greenish solidified rock and fine grain sandstone in oval, circular, triangular and square shapes. The outer edge diameter varies from 4" to 7.5" and the inner whole diameter varies from 1.5" to 2.3". Here, some stone-rings were broken into two halves, which are punctured with small holes at each end. Those eyelets are seemed to be drilled for binding purpose and may be attached by a string. Those stone-ring were probably the insignias, showing the owner's social status and probably wishing for prosperous life after death. Nyaung-gan Early Myanmar buried their ornamentations such as cylindrical terra cotta and stone beads and gastro pot shell beads. Those are found very close to the neck bone of the skeletons and might be strung into necklaces.
Moreover, the rolls of lead sheet (½ " width) for making earring, amulet and heads of cattle, deer and dog also were offered to the dead body wishing for prosperous life after death.
Therefore, according to buried insignias and other elaborate offerings, Nyaung-gan Bronze Age Early Myanmar may be high class and lived in kin group of sedentary life at the place of recent Nyaung-gan village round about 3000 years ago.


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