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Faint traces of one of Mrauk U’s forerunners litter the fields 6 miles (10 km) north of the  archeological site, where sec- tions of ancient walls and the  foundations of partly excavated monasteries and temples are all that is left of ancient Wethali. Founded in AD 327 by King Devan Sanda, the settlement  is thought to have been occu- pied for around 700 years and bears close similarities to the contemporaneous Pyu cities of the Ayeyarwady Valley. Most of the key finds unearthed here have been removed. They included a famous inscribed obelisk, which now stands at the entrance to Mrauk U’s Sittaung Temple (see p112), and a handful of coins and sculpture pieces on display at Mrauk U’s palace museum  . But one note- worthy object  remains in situ: a 17­ft (5­m) seated Buddha hewn from a single block of stone, known locally as the Great Wethali Payagyi. It is believed to be one of  Myanmar’s oldest sur- viving Buddhas.

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