The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes taken by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: notes on Siemi sites
caption: site four
medium: notes
location: Asalu Katsingpeo-ki Mt. Chilei Mt.
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, folder 6
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Approaching from the west up a steep slope, we reached the site at A and followed the ditch, which my Naga guides considered to be an approach road, to the summit of the ridge, passing clumps of "Gareo" bamboos alongside the ditch on our left. The ditch was some 6' wide and 3' deep, and appeared to cross the top of the ridge, which was here only a few yards wide, without a break. There was no trace of any original entrance through the walls, such as might have admitted a path following the easy line of the ridge, and the walls themselves were reduced to heaps of rubble flanking the ditch. The eastern end of the ditch was under cane- brake which we could not penetrate. A modern ridge-path runs through the inner defences, and it is impossible to say whether the present break in the wall there is original or not. A level platform lies immediately inside the outer defences on the east, and below the all there the ground falls steeply. On the west the ditch and one wall of the inner defences end as soon as the ground drops away sharply, but the inner wall turns and can be traced along the slope for a few feet. Inside this angle of the wall is a sunken oval pit some 30' long and 20' wide, about 2' deep, with its sides faced with dry-stone walling. At the north- eastern end of this, at a higher level, a funnel-shaped enclosure - also below ground level and faced with dry-stone banks - leads into a sunken road which continues right across the ridge. Just below the crest a level shelf, apparently another track, but unwalled, turns off to the left upon the hill; the sunken road continues on the far side of the ridge, curving round as the ground falls, until it runs as a contour road on a gradual down grade. It disappears abruptly at the edge of the trees, where grassy slopes begin and slips have apparently obliterated it. It is here heading directly for site 5, about a quarter of a mile away.
text: On following up the unwalled track, we found that this too disappeared where the grass began. (The slopes here are extremely steep, and erosion and slipping would fully account for the disappearance of both tracks). At the edge of the wood was what appeared to be a small monolith about 2' high. The Nagas did not think it was a modern boundary-mark, and considered it connected with the rest of the site. On proceeding towards Chilei peak, we were surprised to find a further ditch crossing the ridge about 100 yards above the edge of the trees; on the south-eastern side it curved back down the slope towards the main site, strongly suggesting that a defensive work ran parallel with the ridge and joined the main site somewhere near the small monolith; but nothing of this remained except what seemed to be fragmentary traces of a grassy shelf in that line, near the edge of the wood. I searched for, but failed to find, any house-platforms on this site. My Naga guide, who had seen both Site 4 and Site 5 when cleared for cultivation in the past, was convinced that there were none at Site 4.