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Inside the Por Bajin restoration
Dr Lyndon Arden-Wong presented the last of the five presentations in this very well attended series. The full title of his presentation was: Urbanising the Inner Asian Steppe – Tang architectural influence on the Eastern Uighur Khaganate Uighur-Tang China Architectural Exchange.
His archaeological researches, leading to a recently awarded PhD, concentrate on a geographical area initially explored by renowned Russian explorers in three waves commencing in the late 19th century through to the 1920s. The focus of their attention was the remains of Uighur settlements to the southwest of Lake Baikal in modern day southern Russia and central northern Mongolia. Modern methods of investigation such as LIDAR (see above) have greatly extended these early archaeological investigations.
The major site discussed in this talk was a 32 sq.km area named Karabalgasin. Its most significant structure is a temple with its entrance to the east leading into what are thought to be a series of reception halls and walkways. Only a minute number of artefacts such as inscriptions or murals have been found. Roof tiles have, however, been found in relative abundance and Lyndon Arden-Wong discussed their characteristics from a structural and decorative point of view. These plus the construction methods of the walls, the orientation of the temple complex and feng shui attributes has led to the suggestion that Tang Chinese models influenced this Uighur structure.
The presenters in this series, Marika Vicziany, Bob Hudson, Alison Betts, Martin Polkinghorne and Lyndon Arden-Wong are distinguished in their fields and TAASA has been privileged to have their participation. Their presentations shone a light on the dedication needed to pursue the discipline of archaeology. Geographical, political and strategic hurdles, let alone physical hardship, present a challenge which these scholars have overcome with outstanding results.