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March 02, 2018

Budget constraints stall archaeological dig

A stalled archaeological dig in Mon State. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency
A stalled archaeological dig in Mon State. Photo: Myitmakha News Agency

BUDGET limitations will put a halt to excavation activities at the site of the ancient city of Thuwunnabumi in Bilin and Kyaikto townships in Mon State by February, according to the Mon State government.
A total budget of K1.1 billion—union government budget of K800,000 and K300,000 from various donors, was allocated use starting from November 2015. However, digging at the site will come to a definite stop next month says Dr. Min Nway Soe, a minister of Mon State.
“We’re nearly out of this year’s budget for excavation activities. We have budget limitations. So we’re going to stop digging with this year’s budget. But excavation will continue again at the end of the year, so that it will be financed by the coming fiscal budget.” he said.
A group of Myanmar archaeological experts were called to carry out excavations with the fiscal budget of 2015 – 2016 at a total of 7 sites around the vicinity of Winka village in Bilin township, including a mound of earth located in Malawt Kyaung village of Kyaik Hto township which was widely believed to be the site of a religious building.
Excavations began during the fiscal year of 2014 – 2015 with a union budget of K200,000 on mounds of earth which were believed to contain buildings, elephant statues and inscription laid brick work of pagodas from ancient times.
In terms of finds from digs during the follow fiscal year of 2015 – 2016, buildings believed to be to dwellings and monasteries, as well as traditional pottery were discovered, while current excavation activities are being carried out on the mound of earth in Malawt Kyaung village which is believed to contain remnants of a religious building.
It is also known that uncovered ancient town walls and religious buildings could be those of the ancient Thuwunnabumi city. As such, efforts will be made to preserve the site from damage of the elements by building a cover to shelter the site. Excavations of the ancient town wall were first carried out in six sites located in Winka village of Bilin township back in 1975. However, wind and rain damage resulted in the deterioration of the sites and now only two remain. The year 2014 was the first time excavation activities had been re-carried out on the sites in 38 years.


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