Abstract: Ancient Mustang: the Origins of a High Himalayan Kingdom in Nepal


Today, Upper Mustang, located in a high elevation valley in northern Nepal, seems remote and isolated. Closed to the world until the 1990s, Mustang is now home to a small but thriving Tibetan Buddhist community that was once part of a much larger world with connections westward into Central Asia and to the east into China and beyond via the famous Silk Road. Yet the origins of this community are very much unknown. The earliest inhabitants are variously described as Aryans, Mongolians, Tibetans, and others. Our research project, composed of a team of archaeologists, historians, bioarchaeologists, archaeological scientists, including specialists in the analysis of ancient DNA, along with a crack team of Alpinists and climbers, is recovering important new data that speak to the origins of the people of Upper Mustang and the ways in which the polity grew and changed over the past 3000 years. This is scientific, adventure archaeology at its finest!


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

2012   Research featured online at National Geographic (NG) Live, “Sky Caves of Nepal.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_783259&feature=iv&src_vid=WMTZBw1SISA&v=kzu5JAgb2vQ

2012  Research featured in National Geographic magazine “Sky Caves of Nepal”, October 2012. Online version at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/10/mustang-caves/finkel-text

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