Archæology in Indo-China


    No little success has been achieved by the first two expeditions of archaeological exploration conducted by the Greater Indian Research Committee. This Committee was foundedin .1934 under the chairmanship of Sir Francis Younghusband with the object of throwing light by field exploration on Indian cultural and colonial expansion throughout south-eastern Asia. An account of the results obtained up to the present is given by Dr. H. G. Quaritch Wales, the field director, in Discovery of November. The first expedition began work at Takuapa on the west coast of peninsular Siam. This has been identified with the Takola Mart of Ptolemy. Here the archaeological evidence has demonstrated the existence of a considerable settlement of Siva worshippers of South Indian affinities, which flourished from the fourth to the eighth or ninth centuries of our era, and was frequented by Chinese and Islamic traders. Further, a line of communication with the west coast has been traced to the Bay of Bandon, where excavations have been carried out on the site of the ancient city of Chaiya, apparently the capital of a great Indianized empire. Even more important results were obtained by an expedition to a site in eastern central Siam, where in the remote Pasak valley in the vestiges of a city were discovered relics of the vanished culture of the great Fu-nan Empire, of which this had been an outlying emporium on the trade route to the Menam valley. This culture was overwhelmed and completely destroyed by the rise of the Kmers in the sixth century A.D. Here the most important discovery was that of an Indian brick temple, which is the earliest known example of Indian colonial architecture. Previous to this discovery, all early Indian colonial temples were thought to have been built of wood. Several examples of sculpture were also found of pure Gupta style.

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    Archæology in Indo-China. Nature 138, 795 (1936).

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