Pyu Encounters with Buddhism in Burma, Mid-1st Millennium AD

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Friday, March 16th, 2018

Friday, March 16, 20184:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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SINCE THE REFORMS that have taken place in Burma/Myanmar since 2011, the tempo of archaeological research has increased, and, in 2014, three Pyu cities (Sri Ksetra, Halin and Beikthano) were awarded World Heritage status. Pyu cities, dating to about the 4th century CE, present early, regionally important examples of settlements that evolved from the late Iron Age into early urbanism in a context of spatial continuity. Sri Ksetra is the prototype of the type of urbanism found at Angkor and Pagan centuries later, where water management was imbedded in extended urban space. This talk will present results from recent archaeological excavations at the Yahanda Mound, which reveal the long sequence of cultural change in the early city from ancestor worship to early Buddhism on a popular level.

JANICE STARGARDT, Professor at the Department of Archaeology of the University of Cambridge, works on the historical geography and archaeology of South and South East Asia. The over-arching theme of her research has been the transition of societies in South East India, Burma and Thailand from Iron Age villages to complex, literate and urbanized communities. She explores a range of factors involved in this transition: the natural environments – resources and stresses; the role of ancient irrigation in mitigating the latter; the contribution of maritime trade to prosperity; and the cultural cargoes that travelled with trade.
Her publications include The Ancient Pyu of Burma. Vol. I, Early Pyu Cities in a Man-Made Landscape. Cambridge and Singapore, 1990; Tracing
Thought through Things: the Oldest Pali Texts and the Early Buddhist Archaeology of India and Burma. Amsterdam, 2000, and The Sea Unites. Essays in the maritime archaeology and remote sensing of South East Asia. Cambridge, 2008. Her latest book Relics of the Buddha, Relic Worship and Other Rituals of Veneration, in Ancient India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Burma, to be published by the British Museum, is currently in press.


Mayumi Yamaguchi


Janice Stargardt
Professorial Research Fellow Asian Historical Archaeology & Geography, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

Christoph Emmrich
Director, Centre for South Asian Studies

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