Padah-Lin Caves

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Padah-Lin Caves
Padah-Lin Cave
sign with cave layout and rock art
Padah-Lin Caves
Padah-Lin Caves
location in Myanmar
Alternative namePadalin
LocationYwangan Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State
Coordinates21°6′0″N 96°18′0″E / 21.10000°N 96.30000°E / 21.10000; 96.30000Coordinates: 21°6′0″N 96°18′0″E / 21.10000°N 96.30000°E / 21.10000; 96.30000
Cupules at Padah-Lin Cave 1
Buddhist stupa at Padah-Lin Cave 1

Padah-Lin Caves (Burmese: ဗဒလင်းဂူ, pronounced [bədəlíɴ ɡù]; also Padalin or Badalin[1]) are limestone caves located in Taunggyi District, Shan State, Burma (Myanmar). It is located near a path from Nyaunggyat to Yebock,[2] on a spur of the Nwalabo mountains within the Panlaung Reserved Forest.[3] There are two caves; the smaller of the two is a rock shelter while the larger cave comprises nine chambers connected by narrow passages in a north-south axis, three large sink holes that let natural light in, and several active speleothem formations.[4]


A superficial investigation of the caves in Shan State had been performed by the American South-East Expedition for Early Man in 1937–1938, and geologist U Khin Maung Kyaw discovered the paintings in 1960.[3] In 1969–1972, the Burmese government organized a more in-depth investigation,[3] and another expedition to the caves was mounted in 2004.[1]

The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on 4 October 1996 in the Cultural category.[5]


Red ochre paintings of human hands, fish, bulls, bison, deer and other objects are visible at the rock shelter.[5] The art has not been directly dated. The walls of the cave have also been decorated with carved patterns.[6] More than 300 cupules have been documented in the rockshelter.[1]

Excavations at the rock shelter from 1969 to 1972 recovered seven pieces of charcoal and bone that were radiocarbon dated to between 1,750 and 13,000 years BP.[4] The excavation also recovered over 1,600 stone artifacts as well as many pieces of bone and red ochre.[3] The stone artifacts include unifacial choppers, bifacial chopping tools, perforated stone rings, adzes and scrapers.[4] Excavations in the larger cave conducted by Ben Marwick in 2016 revealed deposits dating to 65,000 years ago, and flaked stone artefacts dating to 25,000 years ago.[7]

A small Buddhist stupa has been erected at the eastern end of the rockshelter, and several stupas of varying sizes have been built in the chambers of the cave.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Tacon, Paul S. C.; Yee Yee Aung; Thorne, Alan (2004), "Myanmar prehistory: rare rock-markings revealed", Archaeology in Oceania, 39 (3): 138–139, doi:10.1002/j.1834-4453.2004.tb00570.x
  2. ^ Whitley, David S. (2001), Handbook of Rock Art Research, Rowman Altamira, p. 770, ISBN 978-0-7425-0256-7
  3. ^ a b c d Aung Thaw (1969), "The 'neolithic' culture of the Padah-Lin Caves" (PDF), Journal of Burma Research Society, 52 (1): 9–23
  4. ^ a b c Aung Thaw (1971), "The "Neolithic" Culture of the Padah-lin Caves", Asian Perspectives, 14: 123–133
  5. ^ a b Badah-lin and associated caves - UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Retrieved 2009-03-03.
  6. ^ Yee Yee Aung (2008), "New discoveries in the Badah-lin caves, Myanmar", 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists, Leiden, The Netherlands, archived from the original on 2012-08-01 Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help).
  7. ^ Schaarschmidt, Maria; Fu, Xiao; Li, Bo; Marwick, Ben; Khaing, Kyaw; Douka, Katerina; Roberts, Richard G. (2018). "pIRIR and IR-RF dating of archaeological deposits at Badahlin and Gu Myaung Caves – First luminescence ages for Myanmar". Quaternary Geochronology. 49: 262–270. doi:10.1016/j.quageo.2018.01.001. ISSN 1871-1014.