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Upper Tibet

25 November 2015

Upper Tibet is basically the northern and western end of the plateau. We all know that Buddhism took fairly deep roots in Tibet – but what went on before as far as beliefs are concerned? At www.popular-archaeology.com/issue/fall-2015/article/revering-ancient-god… … it seems the pre Buddha gods of Tibet were not a lot different than elsewhere, a pantheon associated with the stars, moon, sun, planets – and celestial dragons. They were the deities of Zhang Zhung, an advanced culture in Upper Tibet that existed between 500BC and the 7th century AD (the date of 625AD is quoted but this appears to be too exact, unless it is known that Buddhism arrived in Tibet at that time).

Zhang Zhung had monumental architecture, metallurgy, social complexity, irrigation agriculture, mining, trade contacts in all directions, according to archaeologist John Bellezza of the University of Virginia. He has spent 20 years exploring highland central Asia, investigating numerous sites, rock art, castles and temples, towns and villages, particularly on the Tibetan plateau. Zhang Zhung was an Iron Age community at the same point in time as the Iron Age existed in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Europe, and elsewhere – it was fully switched on. Where did they come from?

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