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Seminar on the Pyu raises ethnic tensions

A recent seminar on the archaeology of the Pyu, a group of city-states located in central Myanmar, raises some controversy because of suggestions that they once dominated the Mon city-states of lower Myanmar. This tension between the relations between the Pyu and Mon people have led to calls for better research into the archaeology of the Mon and the Pyu.

Excavations at Sru Ksetra, Myanmar Time 20121210

Excavations at Sru Ksetra, Myanmar Time 20121210

Pyu seminar restarts Mon debate
Myanmar Times, 10 December 2012

Researchers have called for more studies to be conducted on the history of early kingdoms in Myanmar at a controversial seminar on the Pyu civilisation.

The Pyu seminar featured about 20 presentations and was held at the Myanmar Banks Association in Yangon’s Yankin township from November 30 to December 2.

One of the organisers of the seminar, U Myo Thant Tin, said it aimed to reveal the “real historical facts” in order to achieve reconciliation between ethnic groups.

“The real facts of history should be a means of bringing peace between different ethnic groups. We should find out what is real and reveal it to the public. We can’t lie or change history,” he said.

But the seminar was shrouded in controversy because of perceptions it would be used to propagate the view that the Pyu, rather than the Mon, dominated lower Myanmar before the rise of the Burmese kingdoms in central Myanmar.

Full story here.

1 comment to Seminar on the Pyu raises ethnic tensions

  • Al West

    Just read Michael and Maitrii Aung-Thwin’s book on Myanmar’s history, and they come to the conclusion that the label ‘Pyu’ is inaccurate, because Myanmar was ethnically mixed, and that cities did not dominate lower Myanmar until after the rise of Pagan. I have to say, Burmese history seems incredibly confused, and there doesn’t seem to be enough of an archaeology budget to resolve any of the questions about urbanisation in Myanmar. Bit of a shame. I’m an outsider in Burmese history, as more of an Indonesianist, but it really is a fascinating place.

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