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Tharay Khit Tara
Three Pyu Cities

Beikthano, Halin and Sriksetra is prepared to submit for the nomination of three ancient Pyu cities such as Beikthano, Halin and Sriksetra into the World Heritage List.

Excavation and conservation of sites in these three ancient cities which have been tasked are undertaken with the allocated government funding by the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library. Although the archeological activities have been carried out as they have been focused.

According to the archaeological evidence of Pyu Culture, development of three ancient Pyu cities can be dated from 1st century AD to 9th century AD.   By those excavated evidences, these cities were proven of the earliest urban civilization formations in Myanmar, with high cultural value in respective field of archaeology, history, anthropology, literature, arts and crafts and ritual matters.

The stone carving of Buddhisattva image

Burial pot found at Beikthano(Pyu Period)
Tharraykhittara Ancient Pyu City
Beikthano ancient Pyu City
Hanlin Ancient Pyu City
History and Development of Three Pyu Cities
  • Archaeological research at Beikthano began in the early years of 20th century with the survey of Mr. Taw Sein Ko in 1905.  Excavations at Beikthano began in 1959 and were systematically pursued until 2008. The Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library conducted the excavation of Beikthano ancient city in 1959 to 2008 through limited to 59 selected sites.
  • Halin site was superficially explored in 1904-05 and few test excavations were made in 1929-30. Systematic excavations at Halin from 1962 to 1967 have shed further light on the cultural complex of the ancient site. From 1963 to 2012, the 33 sites were excavated by the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library.
  • The archaeological investigation in Srikshetra had been started since 1882-83 by Dr. E. Forchammer. The intermittent excavations of ancient monuments in Tharay-khit-tara have been conducted since 1907 and intensive excavation and preservation carried out from 1964 onwards. At present, 53 mounds have been exposed in the site.
  • By the findings from excavations in the middle part of Myanmar, prehistoric cemeteries before the period of ancient Pyu cities were revealed out. In line with the cultural sequences, transformation to the urbanization from rural community could be studied. Due to the locations about 5 to 20 miles to the Ayeyarwaddy River, it could be mentioned that ancient Pyu cities were the earliest urban civilization in Myanmar, that utilization of irrigation system for agriculture and drinking water by developing canals, ponds, freshwater tanks, etc.
  • Three Pyu Cities are located in Myanmar’s central belt, the plain region in the dry zone. Pyu cities were mostly constructed on the alluvial soil of fertile valleys. Due to the material remains as silver coins of Contemporary contact among the cities
  • From those several excavations, the characters of urban for Beikthano city could be exposed with the evidences of city walls, gateways, palace site, ritual and residential buildings. The excavated evidences are sources for linkages of developments of Pyu city states flourishing in Myanmar and relationship with other Asian countries.
  • Structural evidences and artifacts from the sites can be assumed that belief and customs of Pyu period was influenced by both Buddhism and Hinduism. Literature, arts, crafts, customs and traditions, technology such as baking bricks, etc. were very much related to the Indian culture. Later, these cultural elements became development of cultural image of Myanmar identification in the transitional period of Pyu city-states.
Legal status and the bodies
The Ministry of Culture has demarcated Ancient Monument Zone (MZ), Protected and Preserved Zone (PZ) and Ancient Site Zone (AZ) as Core Zones for these three Pyu cities respectively. Also necessary rules and regulations as well as guidelines and parameters to follow in those core zones have already been prescribed.

It is advisable that the action plans for maintenance of ancient Pyu cities should include preserving and preventing of cultural core zones; protection by regional rules and regulations; conducting conservation works on excavated structures; prohibition of illegal excavation, illicit transfer of artifacts, and limiting the expansion of cultivated areas, etc.

In legal portion, the Ministry of Culture has already promulgated following acts and laws:

  • 1958 Antiquity Act
  • 1962 Amendment Act of Antiquity Act
  • 1998 Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Regional Law
  • 2009 Amendment Law of Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Regional Law

According to the 1998 Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Regional Law, three Pyu cities have been announced as cultural heritage sites by designating boundaries of respective zones as follow:

  • Tharay-khit-tara Ancient City by Order No. 1/2001dated 30 January 2001
  • Beikthano Ancient City by Order No. 1/2002 dated 29 May 2002
  • Halin Ancient City by Order No. 1/2008 dated 13 June 2008
At present, there are 41 cultural places designated as cultural zones. The rules and disciplines to be obeyed in the zones are also described.
located in the Hmawzar village tract, Pyay Township, Bago Division.
located 19 km northwest of Taungdwingyi Township, Magway Region and 32 km from the east bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, in the middle portion of the arid central plain of Myanmar.
situated in the Watlet Township, Shwebo District, Sagaing Division.

© 2012 Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library. All Right Reserved. (Beta Version)