National Geographic : 2012 Oct
• Some caves remained homes, and even today a few families live in them. "It's warmer in win- ter," says Yandu Bista, who was born in 1959 in a Mustang cave and resided in one until 2011. "But water is di cult to haul up." e rst thing Athans found in the closet- size chamber---later designated Tomb 5---was wood, superb dark hardwood, cut into vari- ous planks and slats and pegs. Aldenderfer and Singh Lama eventually tted the pieces together, creating a box about three feet tall: a co n. It was ingeniously constructed so that the sections fit through the tomb's narrow entrance and then could easily be assembled in the main chamber."Like Ikea before Ikea," says Eng. Painted on the box, in orange and white pigments, was a rudimentary but unmistakable image: a person riding a horse. "Probably his favorite horse," Aldenderfer guessed. Later, as if to con rm the man's status as an equine a cio- nado, a horse skull was found in the cave. On the 2010 trip to Samdzong, in the two big- gest caves on the cli wall, the team had located human remains from 27 individuals, including men, women, and one child. ere were bedlike or rudimentary co ns in those caves as well, but they were made of much inferior wood and far ■ Society Grants Aldenderfer's and Athans's research was funded in part by your membership.