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The Old Lady Spider Cave - A unique funerary site from dist. Kargil, Ladakh

Dr. Veena Mushrif-Tripathy, Deccan College Post Graduate & Research Institute (Pune)

Location : 5B (AB2)
Abstract: The cave “Gashu Lhabrog” or Old Lady Spider Cave in Yogma Kharbu village, is located in an area of quality grazing with open ground, a rare occurrence in western Ladakh on the 4000-meter altitude. The site is around 3.5 kilometers away from the village, out of which 2 kilometers can be travelled by car and 1.3 kilometers walking inside the valley.
The excavation was conducted with the team consists of Ms. Sonam Dolma, Ph.D. student, Deccan College PGRI and Dr. Quentin Devers (Research Centre for East Asian Civilizations [UMR8155], National Center for Scientific Research [CNRS], Paris, France). The project is supported by the National Geographic Society. Some antiquites were found mainly consisting of pre-modern beads made from stone, coral and most likely glass. The material is not yet been identified. Other than one ceramic fragment no other potshards were found. The cave is one of the very few in the region composed of a series of large rooms connected by narrow galleries. It is an ideal site for investigation as it probably belongs to pre-Buddhist phase in Ladakh. There are human bones found on the surface of the inner room of the cave. The cave has open access and it is subjected to a lot of bone looting for various purposes since long. Total number of bones are 1656 and 56 individuals have been identified based on R scapula. There are 15 females and 10 males. The material belongs to various ages, from infants to old individuals.

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