The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes taken by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: notes on Siemi sites
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Siemi
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, folder 6
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Notes of certain non-Naga sites in the Barail area, North Cachar Hills, and traditions relating to them.
text: Between the Hill Section of the B & A Railway on the west and the Jiri River on the east is a tract of mountain country comprising the Barail Range and its subsidiary spurs. The main range runs N.E. - S.W., is here 4,000 feet or more in height, and rises in places to 6,000. A few spurs run north but the majority lie to the south of the range and from a belt of very steep and broken terrain. The main ridges are occupied by Zemi Nagas, while groups of Chongsen and Thado Kukis, later immigrants, have settled the more difficult country round the two main peaks.
text: Scattered throughout this area are certain ancient sites readily distinguished from old naga and Kuki settlements. Naga sites favour the crest of a ridge and are dotted with unmistakable large, flat gravestones, which often appear as table-stones when their supports are exposed by erosion; and the transient Kuki villages leave very few surface indications except for a few funerary monuments - upright slabs crudely engraved with a human figure. All Kuki sites in this area are less than a century old. The Zemi settlements are harder to date, but their main communities were well-established when Kachari kings still ruled in Maibong.
text: The sites here listed are confined to a small area reasonably accessible from my camp, and I have not had the opportunity to search much further afield; one would expect the same type to occur in the similar country east of the Jiri River. Inquiries about sites on the plateau west of Haflong were negative, so that there is no definite information as to the distribution of these remains.