Japan and Myanmar conduct research on ancient pottery kilns in Mon and Kayin States

People visit an ancient kiln in Twantay, about 20 miles south of Yangon. Photo: Aye Min Soe
People visit an ancient kiln in Twantay, about 20 miles south of Yangon. Photo: Aye Min Soe

A report of findings from a field study conducted by Myanmar archaeologists and their Japanese counterparts on ancient earthen kilns in Mon and Kayin States, has been submitted, according to the Mon State government.
The study group included a group of Japanese archaeologists from the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, a group of Myanmar archaeologists and teachers from Yangon University.
Archaeological digs were conducted by the group in February in locations of earthen kilns in the township of Kyaikmayaw in Mon State and Kawkareik in Kayin State, says Dr. Min Nway Soe, Mon State Minister of Finance and Projects.
“One group of foreigners after another made their way to our Mon State. Brick experts studied the bricks. Bead experts, the beads; pot experts the pots, they each came and conducted study on that which was relevant to their field of expertise. I think foreign experts came to study our culture and our way of life. Research digs are currently being conducted in the villages of Bilin and Winka to be able to identify the site as the ancient capital of Thuwannabhumi. But, I don’t know how the current research on pots and beads is connected to the Thuwannabhumi excavation activities.” said Dr. Min Nway Soe.
The study on the earthen kilns in Mon and Kayin States was conducted between 2-7 February. During this six day period, archaeological field studies, excavation digs and conservation activities were carried out.
Findings on the mound of an ancient earthen kiln over in the Kyaikmaraw township village of Kawtar revealed that half of it was already destroyed, while pot, cup and brick fragments found on the face of the mound were still of good quality, showing good colours.
However, it is known that the earthen kiln was not a location of production for large scale pot varieties.
A study was also conducted on the site of a earthen kiln located in Kawpalaing village, twenty odd miles from Mawlamyine, during which shards of large pots were discovered, leading to the belief that it was the former site of such a large scale pot producing earthen kiln. Furthermore, other pieces of pot were found in another plot of land within the same village, although the mound in which they were originally discovered has long since been destroyed, it is known.
As the areas in which archaeological excavations were conducted were located in densely populated regions of Mon and Kayin States, no original earthen kilns were discovered as people had built dwellings on areas where they would have once been located.
The findings displayed in the study report revealed that the Mon region had, at one time, a thriving pot culture, connected by the three Than Lwin, Kyaing and Ehtayan rivers. As such, pots were easily traded and transported by waterway to other regions, rendering the region, it is believed, economically prosperous from the distribution activities of these products.
The report also reveals how a rise in the interest of foreign archaeological study on regional heritage supports the requirement for conservations efforts on a once thriving pot industry and those earthen kilns that still remain today.—Myitmakha News Agency

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