Focus on Archaeology

by Julie Skurdenis

I am standing atop Bulethi Pagoda in Bagan, Burma’s most important archaeological site. I’ve huffed and puffed up a steep staircase to the uppermost platform encircling the structure. The platform is narrow — only three feet wide — and I lean back against the stone to steady myself as I gaze out over the plain far below me.

No exaggeration — I am surrounded by an archaeological sea of stone temples and pagodas, literally hundreds of them dotting the eastern...