Ancient Bricks

This article discusses the inscribed bricks of Lichchhavi period – written in 2003 for a conference on ‘Ancient Bricks’ held in Hadigaun.

Bricks have been in use in Kathmandu valley since very ancient times. The Handigaun Satyanarayan Archeological Site, explored by Italian archeologists in 1984-88, has exposed use of bricks in foundation, wall and paving constructions ranging from 1st century BC to 10th century AD. Both the dates have been established by Radiocarbon dating of trapped carbon and thus are ‘proven’ (Verardi, 1988: p. 181). The other ‘proof’ that architecture in brick and timber was standard for religious buildings is provided by the record of reconstruction of Matin Devakula issued by Mahasamanta Amshuverma in year 610 AD. In that inscription, we find use of the term Istaka for brick and the information that construction of brickwall was done in regular courses, or was ‘panktita’.

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