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 five
medium: notes
person: Sangchikamba/ of Asalu
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, folder 6
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Site 5 could be located from some way off by the large numbers of "Gareo" bamboos growing on its edge; we should otherwise have had difficulty in finding it, as it lay in a belt of thick jungle. My guide, Sangchikamba of Asalu, had seen the place when it was last cleared, and declared it an impressive sight; he estimated the house-platforms at between 100 and 200, but had seen no walls, ditched, or defences, except for one very deep dyke which divided the site in two. In making our way to the dyke we were crossing house-platforms for a considerable distance; the site is certainly the largest I have seen, and I should estimate it at fully 100 houses.
text: At the point where we reached it the dyke was quite 20' deep and I at first refused to accept the Naga's contention that it was artificial. On moving up it, however, an artificial character became apparent. At a place about 70 yards or less above the point where we first emerged there was a sudden change in section. Above, there was a shallow, U-shaped natural channel, 3' wide and about 8" deep, probably filled only after heavy rain. This abruptly changed to a steep-sided, V-section gully, with a drop of 4' from the channel-bed. This change seemed to be the result of definite excavation, but the general lie of the land suggested that a flood-water gully had originally existed lower down, and that this had been artificially deepened and cut back so as to extend the natural obstacle. There were no walls or defences apparent on either bank and the house-platforms on both sides seemed to give on the gully without any barrier. We saw no monoliths or other surface remains, but the stone facing of the platforms was in tact in a number of places.