Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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The Ancient Burmese City of Bagan

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

(Corto Maltese)BAGAN, MYANMAR—There are some 3,000 temples, monasteries, and pagodas ranging from the ninth to thirteenth centuries in the ancient Buddhist city of Bagan. In 1975, while the country was ruled by a dictatorship, an earthquake leveled some of those buildings. They were restored and even new structures were erected with methods and materials that will make it difficult for Bagan to qualify as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some scholars think the designation could bring much-needed attention to an area of the world that has been long-isolated and little-studied. “But it should not … expect the international community to endorse restorations which have so gravely violated basic archaeological principles,” adds author Donald Stadtner.