The military junta that runs Burma is being dressed down in the international
media for “restoring” some
of its ancient ruins. The ruins are known as Pagan or Bagan and consist of about 2,000 buildings,
spires, pagodas and ziggurats that were mostly built between the 11th and 14th centuries. Some of the
scholars who study the style of arcitecture in question are calling the Burmese effort “Blitzkrieg archaeology.”
Apparently what they are doing is adding fresh new brick to the structures – brick that presumably would never have
been used by the original builders – and even adding arms to a Vishnu statue. Those kooky dictators!
But seriously, between the Taliban blowing up
Buddhist statues and dictators
giving them extra arms, someone needs to step in and deal with these people. The curious thing about the Burmese effort
is that these people obviously believe they’re benefiting the site in the hope of increasing tourism. But don’t they
realize that no one is going to take the effort seriously if its reported that the restorations are all obscenely fake?