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Featured Pakistan: The Archaeological Marvel

ghazi52

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Pakistan Archaeological Sites

Pakistan, though young in the comity of nations, has a rich and varied history spanning a period of over 9000s. The people of Pakistan today have been around for a long time...much before 1947...much before the medieval Mughuls...much before Muhammad bin Qasim...much before Islam...and much before the emanation of Vedic cultures. Pakistan has a history of over 9000 years, all of which have a unique link with the Indus River; Balochistan's Mehrgarh (7000 BC), Khyber Pakthunkhwa's Rehman Dheri (4000 BC), Punjab's Harappa (3000 BC) and Sindh's Mohenjodaro (2500 BC) combined have more than 50,000 rock carvings and over 10,000 inscriptions. Many other heritage sites ranging from the Neolithic period in present-day Gilgit Baltistan and the the ancient Sharda University in Azad Jammu & Kashmir are also worth mentioning. Pakistan is an ancient land in world history. One of the oldest remains of human activity are found in the Soan Valley of the Potohar region in Punjab. The antiquity of these relics of the Stone Age is estimated at about over 2 million years old. Still within the Stone Age, in Balochistan, we find the remains of a stone age man, who was succeeded through the Mesolithic Age by the people of the Neolithic period. Signs of a continuous process of human activity and the hesitant steps of Neolithic and Chalcolithic/Bronze Age communities towards civilization have been found at Mehrgarh (8000 BC) but somewhere around 2700-2500 BC, this and other settlements began to disintegrate, possibly as a result of migration by people towards the Indus River. This process coincided with the emergence and extension of settled or urban life in the greater Indus Valley, culminating around 2300-1500 BC, in the mature Bronze Age 'Indus Valley Civilisation' represented by the sites of Moenjodaro in Sindh and Harappa in Punjab. They are renowned for being one of the most well developed early urban civilisations in human history. Following the decline of the Indus cities and the arrival of the Aryans in this region, around 1800-800 BC., at Pirak, Balochistan, there are indications of the use of iron by the communities of the region, along with extensive cultivation of rice, sorghum and millet. The fall of the Indus Civilisation was probably caused by Aryan tribes round about 1500 BC. They were pastoral societies which developed into the Rig-Vedic or early historic city-states. Successively, the territories now constituting Pakistan were conquered by Darius-I of Persia, the Mauryan Great King Ashoka, Bactrian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians and Kushans. The Gandhara region in northern Pakistan flourished from the time of the Persian conquest (600 BC to 500 AD) to the invasion of the White Huns. Almost all the invaders favoured Buddhism and Buddhist cultural traditions flourished in the region. One of the most prized art forms of Pakistan 'the Buddhist Art of Gandhara' reached its zenith during the reign of Kanishka. After the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim in 711 AD, Islam gained firm hold in the area. From the 10th century on wards, Ghaznavis, Ghoris, Khiljis and Tughlaks ruled over the Indus until the invasion of Timur, who paved the way for the great Mughal Empire. This empire lasted until the War of Independence of 1857. The Early Muslim rulers of the subcontinent kept the border open for Muslims, which resulted in the spread of Islam and the establishment of Muslim settlements throughout the region. This era has given Pakistan much of its rich ethnic and cultural heritage. The realisation of the two nation theory on the basis of religion saw its dawn in the subcontinent with the arrival of Muhammad bin Qasim. Subsequent Muslim rulers came from Persia and Central Asia, with entirely different cultures, resulting in a harmonious fusion. With the passage of time, two nations developed with a different outlook on life, language and literature, customs and legal system, arts and architecture. The Muslims ruled the subcontinent until the establishment of the British Empire, which lasted until 1947. After Independence in 1947, Islamic traditions and values continued to be a defining force in the collective and individual lives of the people of Pakistan.

There are a number of sites in Pakistan that were once home to great and ancient civilizations. The sophistication of their cultures and times can still be observed in the ruins and remains that can be found at many locations here. These are of great interest to archaeologists as they afford a view into the past and shed some more light on how life once used to be for the inhabitants of these lands.

Here’s a list of some particularly prominent areas:

Mehrgarh



The civilization found in Mehrgarh was amongst the first in the world to establish the practice of agriculture, keeping of livestock and organized communal life with a village structure. It lasted for 5000 years till 2000-2500 B.C. after which the ancient dwellers seem to have migrated to other areas, speculated to be Mohenjodaro and Harappa.

It was previously thought that the earliest settlements in South Asia were in Mohenjodaro and Harappa, the best known sites for the Indus Valley Civilization. However, in 1979, the timeline of civilization found in Pakistan was pushed back by more than 4000 years by the discovery of the signs of a civilization at Mehrgarh, about 30 kilometres from the town of Sibi, in the province of Balochistan. The remains are dated to 7000-9000 years ago and therefore immediately precede the Stone Age.

The timeline for this area has been divided into four to seven periods. The earliest of these is the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period of 7000 B.C. and possibly even before that. Mehrgarh was deserted between 2000 and 2500 B.C. and reused as a burial ground for some time after 2000 B.C. It would therefore make sense to say that the Indus Valley civilization has its roots here as well since archaeologists have linked Harappan genesis to Mehrgarh, after the discovery of some early indications of Harappan styles, especially the similarities in earthenware.



The Neolithic Revolution seems to have taken place around 8500 – 6000 B.C. Livestock and agriculture started and life became more settled in permanent housing. Remains of painted pottery and ornaments representing both humans and animals have also been excavated recently from the site. And in what could be one of the earliest known evidence of dentistry and knowledge of dental procedures, scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found tiny, perfectly rounded holes in teeth in the region which they think were drilled to repair tooth decay. None of these come from a special tomb, suggesting that oral health care was available as a general right.

Kot Diji



Around 3500-3000 B.C, another civilization came into being while the Indus Valley Civilization was just underway. Located about 22 km south of Khairpur in the Sindh of province, Pakistan, the Kot Dijli site is some 60 km away from Mohenjo-daro.

Excavated in 1955, the site’s culture is characterized by the use of the red-slipped globular jar with a short neck painted with a black band. During the peak of this civilization, the region was divided into two. The first part was a Citadel for the elites, separated by a defensive wall from the general public. The second was a Lower Town with mud houses. Terracotta found from this site has characteristic horizontal and wavy lines, or loops and triangular patterns. Remains of jars, balls, bangles, beads, pots and figures have also been discovered at the site.

The ancient site is speculated to have been burned down, though the reasons for this end are yet to be discovered.

Mohenjodaro

The name literally translates to Mound of the Death. Situated 350 miles from Karachi, the capital of Sindh, Mohenjodaro is one of the most important archaeological sites in Pakistan. It was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world’s earliest major urban settlements. The civilization existed from 2500 B.C. to about 1500 B.C. after which it disappeared. Mohenjodaro was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.



The citadels found here seem to have once housed palaces, granaries, and grand baths used for ablutions. The town was laid out in rectangular patterns. Houses were two-storied and had drainage systems that led into brick-lined sewers.

Trade and agriculture formed the backbone of the ancient economy. Many copper, bronze, and clay fashioned remains have been found. An important find are the seals. These are engraved with animal figures and a line of pictograph script. On some seals there is a tree or the Hindu god Shiva drawn. The script has yet to be deciphered.



It is mostly accepted that the civilization fell in 1500 B.C. to invading Aryans.

Harappa



Harappa is situated 35 km from Sahiwal and around 250 km from Lahore in the province of Punjab. It was from here that the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization were first discovered that eventually led archaeologists to Mohenjodaro. Though some of the remains of Harappa were destroyed, several cemeteries have been excavated to reveal much about the Harappan culture.





There seem to be have been a series of cities. With a similar layout and designs of citadel and granaries, Harappa looks like Mohenjodaro and appears to have been most populated around in 2000 to 1700 B.C. as well. The economy appears to have been agriculture and trade oriented.

Many of the dead were buried wearing a variety of jewelry and other ornaments, such as rings, along with earrings and bangles. Some of the females had anklets of tiny beads and girdles studded with semi-precious stones.

Taxila

Taxila is a town situated about 32 km away from Islamabad, the Capital of Pakistan. The name is translated to “City of Cut Stone” in Sanskrit. The civilization here is dated back to the Persian Empire in the 6th century BC. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 and in 2006 it was said to be the top tourist destination in Pakistan according to The Guardian.





Taxila can be considered to be amongst the earliest universities to ever exist. This may not be highly accurate in the modern sense, as there was no particular structure to the imparting of Education. The teachers were not paid and had complete autonomy as to the choosing of students and subjects, without any centralized syllabus or control from the ruling authorities. There were also no examinations taken or degrees awarded.

The main ruins of Taxila are divided into three major cities, and each corresponds to a different period in time. The oldest of these is in the Hathial area, which yielded surface shards similar to red burnished ware and these remains may be from an era as early as the late 2nd millennium B.C. to the 6th century B.C. The second is found at Sirkap and was built in the 2nd century B.C. The last city is situated at Sirsukh.

Rehman Dheri

It is a pre-Harappan site, and dated about 4000 B.C. It is located 22 km away from Dera Ismail Khan in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. It is considered to be one of the oldest urbanized centers in South Asia that we know of.



It appears to have once been a large walled rectangular city with a grid iron network. The location of a number of small-scale industrial areas can be seen occupied by eroding kilns and scatters of slag. The surface is strewn with thousands of shreds.

There are not many remains at Rehman Dheri except for thousands of broken utensil bits and stone. It seems to have been left by its inhabitants in the middle of the third millennium B.C. The plan of the Early Harappan settlement is therefore completely undisturbed by later developments in civilization that took place at the other sites and hence represents the beginning of urbanization in South Asia.

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ghazi52

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worlds first toilet system were started in Mohenjo Daro




Areal view of city Mohenjo Daro




Takht-i-Bahi






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My-Analogous

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you forget
Riwat
Riwat (Rawat, Murree) is a Lower Paleolithic site in Punjab, northern Pakistan, providing evidence of Homo occupation that is the earliest outside Africa, dating to 1.9 million years ago. The site was discovered in 1983. The artifacts consist of flakes and cores made of quartzite. Another site, called Riwat Site 55, shows a later occupation dated to around 45,000 years ago.
Riwat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This site is world second oldest site in the world.
 
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ghazi52

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Thor Heyerdahl (in his book "The Tigris Expedition") already discovered that below Mohenjo Daro's Buddhist stupa was a stepped pyramid-like structure, much like the Mesopotamian ziggurats.

Interestingly, Imhotep, one of Egypt's first architects (he was pharaoh Djoser's vizier, also a reed-boat builder, a hieroglyph developer and a physician) constructed the first stepped pyramid (the Djoser stepped pyramid) but in phases.

He started with a temple like bottom base made from baked brick, that may have been meant for fire/sun rituals (fire-altars Skt. 'peru' - 'fire'). This base was later expanded and 'built on top of' with the next stepped levels.

There are reasons to believe that there was a great influx of Indus ideas into Egypt brought about by Indus Valley migrants who entered into Egypt via a number of wadis from the Red Sea and from the Nile delta.




Third century BC stupa discovered at Taxlla




TAXILA: A stupa dating back to the 3rd Century BC was discovered at the ancient Buddhist site of Badalpur near Taxila during excavations carried out by the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations (TIAC) of Quaid-i-Azam University.

The stupa measuring 25x25 was discovered on the southern side of the main monastery with a centre water tank at the ancient Buddhist site. Coins, pottery and metal objects have also been excavated from the site by graduate and doctorate students of the TIAC. The students were led by the institute’s director, Professor Dr Ashraf Khan, Assistant Professor Dr Sadid Arif and Coordinator Mohammad Ibrahim.

Professor Dr Ashraf Khan told that the newly discovered monastery was built in Kushan workmanship style known as ‘diaper masonry’, consisting of thin neatly placed layers of schist interspersed with large blocks of stone as well as semi-ashlar masonry.



He said the cells of the monastery are plastered with mud mortar, the first of its kind seen in the Taxila Valley.

In response to a query, Dr Khan said the discovery of metal objects showed the craftsmanship of the people living in the area between the first and fourth century.

Dr Khan said six copper coins from the Kushan period have been discovered in the excavations. He said that according to the carbon study of the newly discovered stupa carried out by the University of Wisconsin-Madison dates it between the 3rd century BC to 1st century AD.

He said during the last season of the excavation, a good number of antiquities such as a bust of Buddha in stucco, copper coins, bones, charcoal, iron objects and pottery were discovered.



The first excavation at the site was carried out in 1916-17 by Natisa Aiyar, superintendent of Frontier Circle, while the second was carried out from 2005 till 2009 by Federal Archaeology in collaboration with Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisations, Quaid-i-Azam University.

He said five seasons of excavations had been successfully conducted by the institute at this ancient Buddhist site.

The most remarkable discovery was an iron nail and animal bones which revealed that Gandhara people knew the use of different metals and that Buddhists used to eat meat, said Dr Khan.

“History of Taxila should be rewritten in the light of the new and substantial evidence obtained,” he said.

Dr Khan said despite limited resources, the university had planned to excavate and preserve the whole site.
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Kambojaric

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Since activities in relation to archaeology seem to have gathered more pace in post Zarb e Azb Pakistan, I thought it worthwhile to create a thread on this topic which I intend to keep updating.

I will start of with an article about some of the 'biggies' in Pakistani archaeology


The who’s-who of archaeology in Pakistan


Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani, who is often lauded as the greatest archaeologist ever produced by Pakistan


It would not be wrong to say that in the realms of global academia, some fields of study are “more equal” than others. Scientific study, both professional and theoretical, has long been deemed as superior to studies in humanities and social sciences; only studies in finance, business and commerce have recently managed to catch up with the academic giant. The result is that while many people look up to scientists and their achievements, both in history and in contemporary life, the endeavours of social scientists go unnoticed, no matter how important. Pakistan, being one of the least educated countries in the world, naturally is no different.

If I am to ask a random group of Pakistanis how many have heard of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, I am positive many hands would be raised. Many others would know exactly what he achieved and when. He gave us the nuclear bomb, they would say. But should I ask them if they have ever heard of Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani – the most important Pakistani archaeologist of all time – I am positive a significantly less number of hands would be raised. This is part of the reason why Pakistanis have such little respect for culture and heritage and immense respect for militancy. It’s about time we changed that.

To add my two pence to this social service, I have compiled the following short list of Pakistan’s most prominent archaeologists of all time. Since I respect each of them equally, it would be unjust and disrespectful to number the list; hence all of the mentions should be taken in no particular order.

Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani

Born on June 20, 1920, in Basna, located in the modern Indian state of Chhattisgarh – then a part of Central Provinces, British India – Ahmad Hasan Dani was more of a polymath than an archaeologist. The prominent scholar graduated in Sanskrit – reportedly with distinction – from Banaras Hindu University, located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, in 1944. Dr. Dani himself used to recall that since he was a Muslim and the university was essentially for Hindus, he had to – at times – sit outside the classroom to listen to his teacher’s lectures. Hard work paid off and he won a gold medal from his department and subsequently started teaching there.

It is hard to pick highlights from Dr. Dani’s illustrious career. A master of fifteen languages, Dr. Dani also worked with Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1945 on the-then unknown Indus site of Mohenjo-Daro. He was the one who uncovered many mysteries of this great civilization, declaring that it was right at par with the celebrated ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Many of the most popular artefacts associated with the Indus Civilization – such as the dancing girl with bangles – were studied by him. Never one to conform, Dr. Dani opposed the idea that the modern inhabitants of South India were descendants of the occupants of the Indus Valley, driven southward by the Aryans.

But the Indus Valley Civilization was not his only forte – Dr. Dani studied Pakistan’s Buddhist sites, too, and co-authored an extensive work on the history of Central Asia,History of Civilizations of Central Asia, printed by UNESCO. He also co-edited the massive study, History of Humanity, published by Routledge, and wrote a history of Pakistan’s northern areas up till A.D. 2000. Dr. Dani’s scholarly curiosity evidently knew no bounds.

Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani passed away on January 26, 2009, while he was serving as the external director of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad. During his lifetime, he introduced the archaeology department in University of Peshawar, established the school of social sciences in Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, inaugurated the Islamabad Museum, and was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz. His contributions to academia and culture would never be forgotten.


Dr. Mohammad Rafique Mughal, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Boston University. Either this picture is very old, or he doesn’t at all look his age

Dr. Mohammad Rafique Mughal

Another feather in Pakistan archaeology’s cap is Dr. Mohammad Rafique Mughal, former Director General of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Pakistan. Dr. Rafique Mughal’s expertise is quite different from that of Dr. Dani, but, nonetheless, equally valuable to Pakistani cultural studies.

Born in 1936 in Gujranwala, Punjab, Dr. Mughal is an alumni of the Department of History, University of the Punjab, where he received his Master’s degree, and that of University of Pennsylvania, where he received his PhD. On his brief yet informative website (www.rafiquemughal.com), Dr. Mughal states heritage conservation, archaeology of Buddhism and Islam and civilizations of Central and South Asia as his main professional interests. His lengthy and illustrious career includes conducting dozens of excavations across Pakistan, including one with Sir Mortimer Wheeler in Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, Dr. Mughal’s most important contribution to archaeological and cultural study – especially that of Pakistan – is his efforts for the conservation of heritage sites. Serving as the Director of Archaeology, Government of Punjab for 9 years, and as the Director General of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan for 3 years, Dr. Mughal has had a big hand in the preservation of Pakistan’s ancient monuments – something that Pakistanis aren’t exactly fond of. Monuments that he has worked on include Lahore Fort, Wazir Khan Mosque, Shalimar Gardens, Buddhist monasteries and stupas in Taxila and Swat Valley and the architectural remains of Harappa. It is not a wonder, then, that the Government of Bahrain hired him as an archaeological advisor in 1980 – perhaps because his own country could not value his heroic contributions to academia and cultural heritage?

After holding many university positions across the globe, Dr. Rafique Mughal currently serves as Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Boston University, MA, United States.


No holds barred: Dr. Ikram, four feet underground, works at a site near Ain Dabashiya, Kharga, Egypt


Dr. Salima Ikram

Due to a lack of space, I am able to pick just one more name out of a number of deserving candidates who should be included in this short list. I am slightly prejudiced in picking Dr. Salima Ikram, the renowned Egyptologist, over the likes of Mr. Hifz-ur-Rehman, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz awardee, since she is the only female archaeologist associated with Pakistan who has made a name in global academia.

Born in 1965 in Lahore, the turning point of Dr. Ikram’s life came when she visited Egypt at the age of 9. Struck by the country and its ancient monuments – especially a tour inside Khufu’s Pyramid – the young Salima was so captivated that she decided to make Egyptology her career – if not her life. She subsequently went on to study Egyptology and Archaeology at Bryn Mawr University, Pennsylvania, where she received a Bachelors (A.B.) in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and History. Subsequently, she went to the University of Cambridge to earn herself a doctorate.

Dr. Salima Ikram’s specialty is the faunal study of the Egyptian Civilization, particularly the mummification of animals. She has also worked with the National Geographic Society (see bio: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/bios/salima-ikram/) and has been teaching at The American University in Cairo, since 1995; she is currently a Professor of Egyptology at AUC. Other than authoring many research works, Dr. Ikram has also composed a number works for children including, In Ancient Egypt: Gods and Temples (1998), Pharaohs (1997), Land and People (1997) and Egyptology (1997). Her website, www.salimaikram.com, is a reservoir of Egyptology that everyone must pay a visit to.

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/the-whos-who-of-archaeology-in-pakistan/
 
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Kambojaric

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Archaeologists discover layers of Indo-Greek city in Swat


Archaeologists excavate Indo-Greek and Saka-Parthian structures at Bazira, Swat. — Dawn photo

MINGORA: Archaeologists in their fresh excavations here at Bazira, Barikot, have discovered large layers of the Indo-Greek city with weapons and coins as well as important pottery forms imported from Greek Bactria and from the Mediterranean area in second century BCE.


Indo-Greek coins discovered during the recent excavation at Bazira, Barikot, Swat. ─ Courtesy Italian Archaeological Mission in Swat

Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, head of the Italian Archeological Mission in Pakistan, told Dawn that during their recent excavation in April-June his team unearthed some very important discoveries in Bazira, Swat.

The team was formed by Italian and Pakistani archaeologists, including Elisa Iori of Bologna University, Cristiano Moscatelli of Naples University and Amanullah Afridi and Syed Niaz Ali Shah of the KP Directorate of Archaeology And Museums. Excavation trainings at Barikot are funded by the Pakistan-Italian Debt Swap Programme.

“Very little is known in the archaeology of the sub-continent about the material culture of the Indo-Greek. However, this time we discovered at Barikot ample layers associated not only to the Indo-Greek city (when the settlement was encompassed by the Defensive Wall, 2nd BCE), but also to the pre-Greek city, the Mauryan settlement (3rd BCE),” he said, adding that outside the Indo-Greek defensive wall extensive evidence of the proto-historic village (Gandhara Grave Culture; 7th-8th century BCE) were also found.



Indo-Greek coins discovered during the recent excavation at Bazira, Barikot, Swat. ─ Courtesy Italian Archaeological Mission in Swat

He said that during the recent excavations they also discovered a large late-Kushan Temple with four pillars on the northern part of the excavated area (3rd century CE). “This is the third coeval public cultic space found in the late city, and it is confirming the existence of Buddhist architecture, which has nothing to do with the mainstream stupa-cum-viharas layout of the contemporary Buddhist complexes. Vice-versa, these new architecture have more in common with Central Asian coeval examples and antecedents,” he added.

He said that during the excavations the archaeologists also discovered that all the pre-Greek layers were artificially destroyed and obliterated along the Defensive Wall at the time of its construction, to make space to the fortification, revealing conspicuous traces of the Iron Age village (7th BCE).

Dr Luca said that his team was currently excavating one hectare with a stratigraphy from 7th BCE to 3rd CE in Bazira. The area corresponded to circa 1/12 of the entire city. “The KP government is about to acquire all the excavated areas and a large buffer area around them. We are really grateful to the efforts of the provincial department of archaeology and the government,” he said.

Terming the archaeological site of Barikot one of the largest and most important sites in future, he claimed: “I foresee that in future Barikot will become one of the largest and long-lasting excavation projects in Pakistan (30 years so far) if not in the entire sub-continent. It already represents the only Indo-Greek city excavated at that scale, and one of the few examples of a Kushan urban settlement scientifically excavated in South Asia.”

http://www.dawn.com/news/1267322/archaeologists-discover-layers-of-indo-greek-city-in-swat

Maps of the Indo-Greek Kingdom (centred around the Potohar Plaeteu and KPK), with their capitals at Taxila, Sagila (Sialkot) and Pushkalawati (Peshawar). Kapisa/Alexander in the Caucauses (modern Bagram) was also a major Indo-Greek city.



 

Kambojaric

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Thanks for this.... Great find.
Cheers buddy. In relation to the above post I would like to add some info on Menander, the greatest Indo Greek king.

The 30 year rule of Menander was the high point of Indo-Greek rule in Gandhara. Menander established the cultural and administrative parameters for Indo-Greek rule in the region. Menander’s policies mark a major shift from the traditional Greek colonial attitudes and the policies of keeping a distance from the local population. The close rapport he established with the people he ruled is reflected in a number of revolutionary steps taken during his rule …

During Menander’s rule Kharoshthi became the principal language in which administrative matters were handled. From now on Greek was used only for official communication with Hellenistic states. Greek and Kharoshthi were both inscribed on the coins of Menander, which were minted in Taxila.

As a conqueror, Menander had already distinguished himself during the rule of his uncle Demetrius. In this early period of his rule, Menander was given command of the Bactrian Greek forces in various regions south of the Hindu Kush. He was highly successful in bringing southern Afghanistan within Bactrian Greek control. After he became king of Greater Gandhara in 165 BCE, Menander’s spectacular run of successes on the battlefronts continued. Through these conquests Menander established his control over a vast region, which included the valleys of the Kabul and Swat Rivers, Taxila region, parts of Punjab east of Jhelum, Kashmir and the Hindu Kush region around Kabul and Kapisa.

For the governance of such a vast region, Menander maintained his administrative base in more than one city … According to Milandapanha, the capital of Menander’s kingdom was Sagala, at the time when Menander’s meeting with the Buddhist monk Nagasena took place. Menander’s intellectual credentials are established on the basis of his discussions with the Buddhist monk Nagasena on religion and philosophy. The Buddhist religious text “Questions of Milanda” describes Menander as ‘learned, eloquent, wise and able, and a faithful observer. He possessed knowledge of the holy tradition and secular law, systems of philosophy, arithmetic, medicine, astronomy and poetry …’.

As a statesman par excellence Menander gave up traditional Greek attitudes of looking down upon the conquered people. He took bold initiatives to establish a sound working relationship with the Buddhist establishments and through these establishments, established a close rapport with the people of Greater Gandhara. As a result of these wise policies Menander was able to maintain relative peace and stability in the region throughout his 30 year rule.
page 56-58
The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat,
By Rafi U. Samad

A coin of Menander below. It shows Menander on one side and the Greek goddess Athena. The script around the the two is Kharosthi thereby emphasising the fusion of east and west in this region. For those of you who dont know Kharosthi was the indigenous script of the Gandhara region, and was based on the Aramaic script of the Middle East (Aramaic being a sister tounge of Arabic that was spoken by Jesus). An example of Kharosthi script can be seen in image 2.

image 1




image 2

 

Kambojaric

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“Pakistan Archeology” journal published after 20 years



SLAMABAD (APP) – The Department of Archeology and Museum (DOAM) has published book “Pakistan Archeology” after two decades featuring reports of archeological survey and documentation of the cultural and natural stratigraphy conducted by the Harappa Archeological research project and DOAM.

Last issue of the “Pakistan Archeology” was published in 1996. Since then this important journal dedicated to the research reports in the field of Archeology and its allied subjects could not be published.

Present issue of the “Pakistan Archeology” is an effort to resuscitate archeological activities in the country, said Dr Arif, Director General DOAM while talking to APP.

The New issue contains reports of archeological survey and documentation of the cultural and natural stratigraphy of the Beas settlements conducted by the Harappa Archeological research, project in collaboration with the Pakistan Archeology and Museum.

Irfan Siddiqui, Advisor to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage says that Pakistan has a unique distinction of having cultural wealth of the evolutionary process of human society and the monumental landmarks of the succession of historic periods.

He said the Department of Archeology and Museum is the custodian of the Nation’s Cultural Heritage and in this capacity is the sole agency to protect and preserve its master pieces in the shape of movable sites, monuments and the movable antiquities and works of art.

Irfan Siddiqui said the present issue of the “Pakistan Archeology” is an effort of the Director General and his team to protect and promote the rich cultural heritage of the country at international level.
“It is hoped that this issue will be viewed with keen interest by scholars and students and the general public,” he said.
He said this volume which we have the pleasure to introduce is dedicated to the study and surveys of the archeological sites and monuments in the country. It is government’s firm resolve to continue researches and activities in the rich tangible heritage that Pakistan Boasts, he added.

The 231 pages book “Pakistan Archeology” would be available at allvbooks stalls on Rs 1000. The Director General DOAM said the publication of “Pakistan Archeology” would also help the students and researchers working in the field of Archeology.

Archeology expert talking to APP, said this is good news that at last such an important book “Pakistan Archeology” was published. He said that credit would be given to the present government for publishing such important journal.

http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/pakistan-archeology-journal-published-after-20-years/

Historic identity of Shahi Mosque Sargana restored



The Punjab Archeology Department has restored the historic identity of centuries-old Shahi Mosque at Sargana village of Mailsi, which was built during Emperor Akbar’s regime.

Local administration of the mosque had covered unique artwork of Kashi Kari and beautiful tiles during repair work.

The Punjab Archeology Department took a keen interest and restored the mosque’s historic identity by displaying Kashi Kari work again and using special tiles matching the ones which had been used in the mosque hundreds of years ago.

Punjab government had earmarked Rs 11 million for the restoration of the mosque to its original shape.

Archeology sub-divisional officer Malik Ghulam Muhammad, while talking to a news agency on Sunday informed that a good number of people could offer prayers in the mosque simultaneously as it had a 6,000 feet courtyard.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/201...ic-identity-of-shahi-mosque-sargana-restored/
 

Kambojaric

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Great job!!!! Is it different civilization than the mohenjodaro?
The Indo-Greeks belong to a different time period altogether from the Indus Valley Civilization. The former existed in the 100BC to 0AD time period roughly whereas the IVC existed all the way back in 3300 BC.
 

happycanuck

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Since activities in relation to archaeology seem to have gathered more pace in post Zarb e Azb Pakistan, I thought it worthwhile to create a thread on this topic which I intend to keep updating.

I will start of with an article about some of the 'biggies' in Pakistani archaeology


The who’s-who of archaeology in Pakistan


Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani, who is often lauded as the greatest archaeologist ever produced by Pakistan


It would not be wrong to say that in the realms of global academia, some fields of study are “more equal” than others. Scientific study, both professional and theoretical, has long been deemed as superior to studies in humanities and social sciences; only studies in finance, business and commerce have recently managed to catch up with the academic giant. The result is that while many people look up to scientists and their achievements, both in history and in contemporary life, the endeavours of social scientists go unnoticed, no matter how important. Pakistan, being one of the least educated countries in the world, naturally is no different.

If I am to ask a random group of Pakistanis how many have heard of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, I am positive many hands would be raised. Many others would know exactly what he achieved and when. He gave us the nuclear bomb, they would say. But should I ask them if they have ever heard of Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani – the most important Pakistani archaeologist of all time – I am positive a significantly less number of hands would be raised. This is part of the reason why Pakistanis have such little respect for culture and heritage and immense respect for militancy. It’s about time we changed that.

To add my two pence to this social service, I have compiled the following short list of Pakistan’s most prominent archaeologists of all time. Since I respect each of them equally, it would be unjust and disrespectful to number the list; hence all of the mentions should be taken in no particular order.

Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani

Born on June 20, 1920, in Basna, located in the modern Indian state of Chhattisgarh – then a part of Central Provinces, British India – Ahmad Hasan Dani was more of a polymath than an archaeologist. The prominent scholar graduated in Sanskrit – reportedly with distinction – from Banaras Hindu University, located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, in 1944. Dr. Dani himself used to recall that since he was a Muslim and the university was essentially for Hindus, he had to – at times – sit outside the classroom to listen to his teacher’s lectures. Hard work paid off and he won a gold medal from his department and subsequently started teaching there.

It is hard to pick highlights from Dr. Dani’s illustrious career. A master of fifteen languages, Dr. Dani also worked with Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1945 on the-then unknown Indus site of Mohenjo-Daro. He was the one who uncovered many mysteries of this great civilization, declaring that it was right at par with the celebrated ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Many of the most popular artefacts associated with the Indus Civilization – such as the dancing girl with bangles – were studied by him. Never one to conform, Dr. Dani opposed the idea that the modern inhabitants of South India were descendants of the occupants of the Indus Valley, driven southward by the Aryans.

But the Indus Valley Civilization was not his only forte – Dr. Dani studied Pakistan’s Buddhist sites, too, and co-authored an extensive work on the history of Central Asia,History of Civilizations of Central Asia, printed by UNESCO. He also co-edited the massive study, History of Humanity, published by Routledge, and wrote a history of Pakistan’s northern areas up till A.D. 2000. Dr. Dani’s scholarly curiosity evidently knew no bounds.

Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani passed away on January 26, 2009, while he was serving as the external director of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad. During his lifetime, he introduced the archaeology department in University of Peshawar, established the school of social sciences in Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, inaugurated the Islamabad Museum, and was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz. His contributions to academia and culture would never be forgotten.


Dr. Mohammad Rafique Mughal, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Boston University. Either this picture is very old, or he doesn’t at all look his age

Dr. Mohammad Rafique Mughal

Another feather in Pakistan archaeology’s cap is Dr. Mohammad Rafique Mughal, former Director General of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Pakistan. Dr. Rafique Mughal’s expertise is quite different from that of Dr. Dani, but, nonetheless, equally valuable to Pakistani cultural studies.

Born in 1936 in Gujranwala, Punjab, Dr. Mughal is an alumni of the Department of History, University of the Punjab, where he received his Master’s degree, and that of University of Pennsylvania, where he received his PhD. On his brief yet informative website (www.rafiquemughal.com), Dr. Mughal states heritage conservation, archaeology of Buddhism and Islam and civilizations of Central and South Asia as his main professional interests. His lengthy and illustrious career includes conducting dozens of excavations across Pakistan, including one with Sir Mortimer Wheeler in Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, Dr. Mughal’s most important contribution to archaeological and cultural study – especially that of Pakistan – is his efforts for the conservation of heritage sites. Serving as the Director of Archaeology, Government of Punjab for 9 years, and as the Director General of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan for 3 years, Dr. Mughal has had a big hand in the preservation of Pakistan’s ancient monuments – something that Pakistanis aren’t exactly fond of. Monuments that he has worked on include Lahore Fort, Wazir Khan Mosque, Shalimar Gardens, Buddhist monasteries and stupas in Taxila and Swat Valley and the architectural remains of Harappa. It is not a wonder, then, that the Government of Bahrain hired him as an archaeological advisor in 1980 – perhaps because his own country could not value his heroic contributions to academia and cultural heritage?

After holding many university positions across the globe, Dr. Rafique Mughal currently serves as Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Boston University, MA, United States.


No holds barred: Dr. Ikram, four feet underground, works at a site near Ain Dabashiya, Kharga, Egypt


Dr. Salima Ikram

Due to a lack of space, I am able to pick just one more name out of a number of deserving candidates who should be included in this short list. I am slightly prejudiced in picking Dr. Salima Ikram, the renowned Egyptologist, over the likes of Mr. Hifz-ur-Rehman, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz awardee, since she is the only female archaeologist associated with Pakistan who has made a name in global academia.

Born in 1965 in Lahore, the turning point of Dr. Ikram’s life came when she visited Egypt at the age of 9. Struck by the country and its ancient monuments – especially a tour inside Khufu’s Pyramid – the young Salima was so captivated that she decided to make Egyptology her career – if not her life. She subsequently went on to study Egyptology and Archaeology at Bryn Mawr University, Pennsylvania, where she received a Bachelors (A.B.) in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and History. Subsequently, she went to the University of Cambridge to earn herself a doctorate.

Dr. Salima Ikram’s specialty is the faunal study of the Egyptian Civilization, particularly the mummification of animals. She has also worked with the National Geographic Society (see bio: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/bios/salima-ikram/) and has been teaching at The American University in Cairo, since 1995; she is currently a Professor of Egyptology at AUC. Other than authoring many research works, Dr. Ikram has also composed a number works for children including, In Ancient Egypt: Gods and Temples (1998), Pharaohs (1997), Land and People (1997) and Egyptology (1997). Her website, www.salimaikram.com, is a reservoir of Egyptology that everyone must pay a visit to.

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/the-whos-who-of-archaeology-in-pakistan/
Thanks for your research and also for posting the historical facts of our region.
 

Kambojaric

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Ancient relics: Bazira – a treasure trove of antiquity





MINGORA: Bazira, a town in Barikot tehsil of Swat, is located 20 kilometers away from the Grand Trunk Road between Mingora and Peshawar. It is an ancient city, the oldest in Swat district. Buried under tons of soil and rocks is a treasure trove of antiquity. Pakistani and Italian archaeologists have not only excavated a vast complex of an Indo-Greek city in Bazira, but have also dug up architecture and artifacts dating back to pre-Mauryan period.

After recent excavations, experts believe Bazira’s history can now confidently be traced back to the time before Alexander the Great, establishing its claim to be the oldest city in Swat.

Members of the Italian Archeological Mission started excavations in Bazira in 1978, unearthing important architectural remains of ancient times. Data and studies yielded extensive evidence that Bazira town (or Beira as it was called in ancient times) was conquered by Alexander the Great in 327 BCE.



Excavation data from the plains area and from the hilltop of Barikot offered evidence about human settlements starting even before the 2nd millennium BCE.

Initially, between 1984 and 1990, four trenches were dug up following protohistoric phases which allowed the identification of a stratigraphic sequence ranging between 2nd century BCE and 4th century CE. In the hillside area, archeologists found evidence from the Islamic period (13th-14th century CE).

Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, the head of Italian Archeological Mission in Pakistan, said: “We have unearthed sufficient evidence … We discovered large layers not only of an Indo-Greek city of 2nd BCE, but also from pre-Greek era, as well as relics of a Mauryan settlement of 3rd Century BCE.”

Referring to recent excavations, he said: “We discovered high value coins, weapons and pottery.”

Archeological excavations unearthed remains of a temple and a university complex in addition to ancient relics, including ancient weapons, coins, vases and pots.

Fazal Mabood, an employee of the Archaeology Department, said: “Important relics have been found dating back to the time of Alexander the Great in Swat during excavations in Bazira city.”

“More artifacts and relics are expected to be found when the dig area is widened.”

Fazal Khaliq, a local journalist working on archaeology in Swat said: “Recent discoveries (of relics such as) coins … carvings, weapons, vases and pottery confirmed Alexander the Great’s arrival and stay in Swat.” Discovery of ruins of a fortification wall, he said, confirmed the existence of Bazira city in ancient times.

An expert in archeology, Niaz Ali Shah, said that further excavations could help establish the existence of the city during Mauryan period of Ashoka dynasty, a civilisation in existence when Alexander the Great invaded the region.

“Proper projection… of Bazira city at global level can help attract huge number of tourists, monks and archeology students from the world over,” he said.

The Italian Archaeology Mission in Pakistan is headed by Dr Luca Maria Olivieri. It is working in collaboration with Pakistani archaeologists.

Teams of Italian and Pakistani archeologists have so far explored and excavated hundreds of sites, unearthing stupas, artifacts and other important relics in different localities of Swat.

Experts termed recent discoveries of ancient artifacts and relics in Bazira city a major breakthrough in the Swat’s archaeological history, which could yield interesting finds for decades.

Thanks for your research and also for posting the historical facts of our region.
Thanks, I hope more people take interest in history both in Pakistan and in the wider region :).
 

Kambojaric

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Ancient Buddhist monastery in Barikot attracting crowds




MINGORA: The second-century double-dome vihara, a Buddhist monastery, at Balokaley in Kandak valley, Barikot, is attracting a large number of tourists, architecture students and archaeology researches.

Located 8.1km from Barikot, the archaeological site, a masterpiece of ancient architecture, is located high on the mountain and is visible from a long distance.

According to archaeologists, the site was first visited by a Hungarian-British archeologist, Sir Aurel Stein, in 1926 and then hastily excavated by Burger and Wright in 1938.

Now protected, the site has been looted by vandals and smugglers for almost a century.

Restored and partially excavated, the site, which was acquired by the KP government of late, provides visitors with a clear understanding of the original layout featuring a tripartite monumental terrace with the shrine flanked by two stupas in ruins, supported by a walled terrace as well with the amazing hospitality of local community.

“The site is featured by the landmark monument of the Great Shrine, the oldest example of double-dome Gandharan architecture. Chronology of the site is supported by radiocarbon dating one wooden beam of the shrine (palosa wood or acacia modesta) back to the end of first century or the middle of second century CE). The shrine with its cella, corridor and double dome is astonishingly well preserved for the standards of Gandharan architecture,” said Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, head of the visiting Italian Archaeological Mission.

He added that it was the only double-dome structure of the ancient Buddhist era left in South Asia.

Carla Biagioli, an Italian architect and heritage specialist, who visited Balokaley Gumbat of late, said she was happy to see the site well preserved and protected. “Protection and conservation of the monuments is a very important step to promote the cultural values. The restoration of Balokaley Buddhist shrine has demonstrated the potentiality of attractiveness of the area from cultural and natural point of view,” she told Dawn.

She said the venue of the Buddhist shrine was really amazing and scenic, while the area presented a specific living cultural landscape including traditional settlements and typical wood-stone-mud habitat, botanic interests and rock art elements.

“The eye-catching site having rich culture and religious heritage is attractive for international tourists if durable peace prevailed in the area,” she said.

Tourists and architecture students visit the site not only to have a look at the architectural landmark but also to enjoy the breathtaking view of the monument.

“On one hand, the double-dome structure constructed with stone masonry left me amazed and on the other, the view of the area was so beautiful that it gave me inner peace,” said tourist Iftikhar Ali.

The archaeological area, which is just five kilometers from Bazira site, is part of a 12 km light tourist trail network marked and provided with safe water points and shelters.

The trail crosses two valleys and touches several rock painting and carving sites in the pristine breathtaking environment.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1269867/ancient-buddhist-monastery-in-barikot-attracting-crowds
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closer up picture of the Balokaley vihara.

 

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