Railway project destroys archaeological sites at Mrauk U

Archaeological sites and buildings at the Arakanese city of Mrauk U are being destroyed to make way for a railway line that cuts through the city’s main archaeological zone. So far, there has been little response by the central government to appeals by local politicians and monks. [Thanks to Dr Pamela Gutman for the news]

Andaw Thein in Mrauk U. CC image.

Archaeological Sites Bulldozed for Railroad Construction in Arakan
Narinjara.com, 18 November 2010

Anger at ‘destructive’ railway project
Democratic Voice of Burma, 18 November 2010

Many cultural heritage sites have been destroyed as military authorities have bulldozed a path for constructing a railroad through a major archaeological zone in Mrauk U, an ancient city in western Burma’s Arakan State.

A local archaeologist told Narinjara that the construction of the railroad through the city started on 7 November, and many ancient structures built by 14th century Arakanese cultures have already been damaged.

“Many priceless archaeological structures such as pagodas, sculptures, city walls, fortresses, garrisons, and moats have already been bulldozed for the railroad that is being designed to cross the main archaeological zone in the north and northeastern part of the city, and many more structures are still facing demolition,” said the archaeologist.

The structures that have already been destroyed include pagodas and sculptures on Thazintan Hills, Praysoe Gree Pagoda, Mungalar Wall, Khrunkite Wall, Ahmrunt Taung Fortress, Khrunkite Fortress, Rae Hla Fortress, Rae Hla Gate, Rae Hla Moat, and Kyein Rwa Moat, the source said.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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