Friday, August 7, 2009


As we mentioned earlier the evidences are a bit convoluted because of the construction techniques of the era and it is compounded by the lack of proper documentation techniques during the excavation and the dating technology available at the time.
So, it is necessary to mention that the above matrix based on the archaeological finds as mentioned in the annual reports is not without errors or contradictions.
The difficulty of dating and stratification discrepancies have often been mentioned by the archaeologists involved in the explorations. One of the biggest contradictions is with monastery number 1 and 1A. The alignment of monastery 1A does not match the general planned row extension that suggests that it was built before the preplanned development of the rest of the monasteries.
But the archaeological find suggests the North east corner of the 1A was built on the remains of 4th layer of monastery 1, and the 1st layer of Monastery 1 is from 7th century.
At the time when the ruins were excavated the main agenda was to expose the entire monastic site and the documentation and other details were left out in the process and contribute to these major gap in the chronological history.

Given below is yet another attempt to establish a link between the layers of different structures based on the archaeological finds.

Please click on image to view larger

The rows in light yellow color indicate the periods with strong evidence to prove its link and the one in light green seem to have some contradictory information.

Observations (based on archaeological finds)
Proofs of patronage to particular monasteries by respective kings are not available and could not be established on the basis of archaeological finds.
2. All the monasteries are broadly categorized in Pre-Devapala, Devapala and post Devapala layers. This piece of information is too scanty to draw conclusion of which monasteries existed at the time of Xuanzang stay.
3. Little evidence like coins was found in few monasteries. This is not conclusive enough for establishing that the monastery is built by the particular king.
4. Potsherds were not found in enough quantity to sequence the exact chronology period-wise of different monasteries
5. The technology available at the time of excavation was not equipped for a correct dating
6. Dating of monasteries 1A and 1B goes against the logic and available literary evidences. As per the archaeology evidences the sites were constructed in 7th century and later. But this doesn’t match with the description in the travelogues. 1A & 1B are the monasteries which are not following the planned row which was a late development. Also the sizes of these monasteries are small suggesting an earlier period.
7. Monastery no 1, is most unusual in many sense, it is connected to monastic site no 5, which was actually a granary/store. And there was a passage between the two. Also found were two chambers in the courtyard whose purpose is still not clear. The cells in this monastery are of relatively bigger size and had small chambers by its side in the eastern rows.
8. Some later archaeologists have observed that the courtyard of the 2nd layer of the Monastery no 1A & 1B are in same level with the courtyard of 5th layer of Temple no 3. If this is true than the earliest dating of 1A & 1B will go to 5 or 6 the century.

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