Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal's Mustang Cliffs Kindle Edition
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From School Library Journal
"For thousands of years, secret caves have been tucked away in steep cliffs in Nepal, and mountain climbers and scientists have begun to explore them. Through their discoveries, they are able to learn about this remote area, its history, and the people who once lived in these caves. The author (a sister of one of the mountaineers) takes readers on a fascinating journey, blending adventure, science, and history. Sidebars of information add a depth of information from topics as varied as what gear a Mustang rope rigger needs to an explanation of a Bon manuscript dating back to the mid-1300s. The book design is attractive and accessible and includes quality photographs and clearly labeled map. The book will enlighten young readers to one of the most fascinating explorations and discoveries happening today. Seven pages of back matter provide a plethora of additional information. This well-executed narrative envelopes readers in a captivating tale of true mystery and adventure." ―starred, School Library Journal― Journal Published On: 2014-03-01
"Athans, who chronicled the adventures of her mountaineering brother Pete Athans in Tales from the Top of the World, returns with the story of his collaboration with archaeologists to explore once-inhabited caves in the former kingdom of Mustang, on Nepal's border with Tibet. Following brief chapters on the geography of the remote region, the story of the contemporary cave expeditions begins when the team arrives with a limited thirty-day permit to explore the caves, though they are not allowed to disturb or remove anything found therein. Hoping to find Buddhist monuments called kabums, they in fact discover elaborate cave paintings and a cache of illuminated paper documents, which obviously call for deeper investigation. Further expeditions are authorized, each involving more scholarly personnel and an expanded brief for removing artifacts and human remains to a more secure location for further study. Discussion of caving techniques and the team's relationship with Nepalese government and religious leaders opens a window to the more knotty technical and bureaucratic aspects of archeology. Meanwhile, the informal color photographs are particularly effective in conveying the scale of the terrain and blend of tradition and modernity throughout the region. Often, though, the text is marred by missed opportunities (description of grave gods is unspecific) and unexplained incongruities (e.g., few plants are present, but farmers raise wheat and barley). Nonetheless, rich end matter comprising glossary, index, timeline, source notes, and bibliography, will be a boon to report writers, and the melding of rock climbing and archaeology may entice a range of armchair adventurers." ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books― Journal Published On: 2014-06-01
"Mountain climbers, scientists and scholars use their special skills to unearth the mysteries of a cave city in the Himalayas.
In a remote area of the world, mountain climbers scaling Mt. Everest come across an incredible man-made cave village hidden away in the mountain range. The cave dwellings, part of the former kingdom of Mustang (now part of Nepal), were once part of a thriving community. The climbers received permission from the Nepalese government to study the caves, and the team grew to include those with the skills to interpret the remains, artifacts and other findings. This volume describes the projects that answered many of the questions raised by the discovery of the caves and in doing so demonstrates the special qualities of each of the specialties involved―not the least of which is mountaineering. The author's brother was one of the original climbers, lending authenticity to the account. The text, which provides a solid history of the region, is supplemented by many photographs of the explorers as well as the items from the excavation. There is rich backmatter: a roster of those involved, a timeline, source notes, glossary, selected bibliography, suggestions for further exploration, photo credits and an index.
Though it's too bad the voices of the Nepalese scholars involved are not heard, overall, it's a satisfying exploration." ―Kirkus Reviews
- ASIN : B00HNXC0HS
- Publisher : Millbrook Press ™; Illustrated edition (January 1, 2014)
- Publication date : January 1, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 71828 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 64 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
Best Sellers Rank:
#812,981 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #94 in Children's Explore Asia Books
- #311 in Children's Action & Adventure Books (Kindle Store)
- #1,114 in Children's Asia Books
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Pros: There’s lots of interesting history about a little-known civilization in a remote part of the world. The cave exploration is somewhat harrowing and exciting, and the fact that two kids joined in the expeditions (the first when they were just three years old and 18 months!) will be of interest to kids reading the book.
Cons: The inside flap describes these expeditions as more dangerous than climbing Mt. Everest. Since I’ve always been interested in tales of scaling Everest, I had high hopes for this book, but was somewhat disappointed. Accessing the caves seemed difficult, but nowhere near as tough as climbing Everest. There was much more history and science than real adventure.
The Mustang caves are all hand-carved and some of them are “nicknamed sky caves because they are high in the air.” Some of them are quite expansive, but how did people access them and what were they used for? Modern-day explorers, scientists, and historians set out to answer those very questions. Caves in Mebrak only furthered the mysteries of the caves when “thirty naturally mummified bodies” were found. Animal remains and grave goods gave archaeologists and scientists clues to go on. It was obvious to the Nepalese government that an expedition was in order and allowed “more researchers to study the caves of Upper Mustang.” Would any more secrets to the past be found?
Pete Athans assembled and led a team to explore the caves. They only had thirty days and faced limitations. The team was “not allowed to alter the caves or the contents inside in any way.” That meant that only a photographic record could aid the outside world. Absolutely nothing could be removed from the caves. How could they begin to understand the peoples who inhabited these caves if they couldn’t remove any items they found? Breathtaking scenes began to unfold before them as they discovered the kabrums, “monuments built to hold sacred Buddhist artifacts and remains of important religious leaders.” And then there was a giant mural and later “piles of ancient papers in a cave high in the cliffs.” What were the contents of these amazing sky caves telling the world about the ancient Nepalese peoples?
This is an amazing tale about the Mustang sky caves that will mesmerize young readers. Mystery swirls through the pages, pages filled with full-color photographs that shout “adventure.” We can see mountain climbers attempting to climb the cliffs, archaeologists poring over bones, and scientists trying to find clues scattered on the floor of a cave. There are numerous informative sidebars that add a lot to the tale. For example, we learn about how Nepalese natives recite certain phrases in hope that it will bring them good luck in their travels. Readers will learn about the Bon religion, legends, Nepal’s climate, their king, the caves, and many other fascinating vignettes. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a “Who’s Who” of people associated with the caves, a timeline (ca. 1000 BCE), source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. Additional downloadable complementary resources can be accessed on the publisher’s website.
This book courtesy of the publisher.