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New museum in Yangon set to entrance fans of amber

Members of the public now have a new museum to enjoy in downtown Yangon.

The recently opened Myanmar Amber Museum plays host to and showcases various specimens of amber found in Myanmar.

The museum’s rather distinctive logo is based upon the flower Tropidogyne Pentaptera, a prehistoric angiosperm. The flowers were just beginning to evolve 99 million years ago. The flower symbolises the beauty of Myanmar and its own evolution into the future.

The museum welcomes visitors with an exciting activity even before they enter the facility. They have to correctly choose what they think is amber from a basket in which many other assorted stones are put.

After the visitor chooses the right stone, he will realise that amber is light and has a warm feel to it. Visitors are allowed to keep the piece of amber with them until they have finished looking around the length and breadth of the museum.

Visitors can read the historical timeline provided by the museum while they are in the museum if they do not already have knowledge about amber’s history.

According to the museum, the mining of amber can be traced back as far as the first century AD in Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley. It was shipped to China and went as far west as the Roman Empire. In those times, amber was worth the price of a slave.

In 1613, the Portuguese Jesuit Father Alvarez Semedo was one of the first Westerners to write about the Burmese amber mines. And, in 1836, a British military officer ,Captain SF Hannay visited the Hukawng Valley amber mines. From 1892 to 1896, German researcher Dr Fritz Noetling visited the amber mines and noted the presence of insects in amber from the Miocene age. In 1893, Noetling’s colleague scientist Otto Helm studied the amber samples and named the amber Burmite as it was different from other types of amber known at the time.

In 1999, after decades of military rule, the country’s amber mines reopened and amber became available for study again. More recently, in 2016, a dinosaur tail found in Burmite amber.

It is believed that Myanmar amber is 99 million years old and was around during the time of dinosaurs. Among the things found in Myanmar amber include a dinosaur tail, dinosaur feathers, complete pterosaurs, primitive snakes, complete bird, early frog, flowers, and many modern and extinct insects.

Because of the fossil inclusions, paleontologists, botanists and entomologists want to study amber. Myanmar amber are believed include approximately 228 families, and 870 species of organisms ranging from protozoa to vertebrates. They wait for more revelations from Myanmar amber.

Amber is tree resin that has hardened over millions of years, and it is not tree sap. An estimated 65 to 145 million years ago, what is now known as Myanmar possessed an extinct tree known as Araucariaccae, a type of pine.

Amber formation started with sticky globs of aromatic resin filled internal cracks and hollows, trapping insects, animals, plants and debris. The warm, golden organic gem is amber.

The amber found in Myanmar is from the Cretaceous Period, which is approximately 99 million years ago. Amber is known as an organic gem and not a mineral gemstone. Many factors go into determining the value of amber. It goes without saying that it is good to know about amber.

One can find Cretaceous creatures such as scorpions and snails, lizard, gecko, and ticks trapped in Myanmar amber.

The museum is a good way to look at the rich culture of amber and amber mines in Myanmar to get to know more about the country’s rich natural history. The museum welcomes people with much information about amber and it tries to give necessary background information together with its displayed items.

Visitors to the museum can purchase different types of amber with prices ranging from US$20 to US$1500. And amber themed memorabilia such as postcards and T-shirts are also available priced from K2000 to K10,000 as souvenirs of a visit to the Myanmar Amber Museum.

The museum opens daily from 10am to 5pm, and for the time being only collects donations from visitors. The museum may consider collecting entry fees later on to help fund the running of the facility.

The Myanmar Amber Museum is located at No. 138, 37th Street (Middle Block), Kyauktada Township, Yangon, Myanmar. For more information, go to the museum’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/myanmarambermuseum and www.myanmarambermuseum.org.

Source: Myanmar Times

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