Category Archives: Archaeology

Researchers discover 30000-year-old rock art and 110 historic sites in Pakistan

site-in-pakistan8 sites are of Buddhist importance. These sites display ancient rock art including images. During excavation, researchers found remnant of mosques, forts, gallows, tunnels and other buildings of Ameer Taimur period.

By Megha Singh -Dec 9, 2016

Archaeologists unearth 30000-year-old 110 historic sites in Pakistan

Archaeologists have unearthed 30000-year-old relics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Of newly discovered 110 sites, some are related to Buddism. According to reports, a team of archaeologists along with support from Political Administration and Pakistan Army have discovered the sites.

The pre-historic sites are of Buddhist, Islamic and British era. 8 sites are of Buddhist importance. These sites display ancient rock art including images. During excavation, researchers found remnant of mosques, forts, gallows, tunnels and other buildings of Ameer Taimur period.

The political administration has summoned another team of scientists to further study the art form. Apparently, the study will be extended to other tehsils of Tirrah and Barra with an aim of finding more such sites which will tell us more about the ancient times, their beliefs and mythology.

“These rock carvings were etched around 30,000 years ago,” Abdul Samad, Director K-P archaeology and Museums, who has conducted the survey, told media on Thursday. Continue reading

Khyber rediscovered as rich archaeological area

A Buddhist stupa in Jamrud tehsil near Torkham Highway is a testimony to the historical and archaeological significance of Khyber Agency. —Dawn

A Buddhist stupa in Jamrud tehsil near Torkham Highway is a testimony to the historical and archaeological significance of Khyber Agency. —Dawn

Dec 09, 2016 09:54am

PESHAWAR: For the first time Khyber Agency may be put on the world’s map for its archaeological richness as a survey team is thrilled to have found prehistoric rock carvings in this tribal region.

Khyber Agency was known more as a gateway to Central Asia and remained a favorite route for the invaders, pilgrims and traders for centuries and in recent years it was ravaged by militancy.

But more lies underneath this rugged terrain, archaeologists have just found out.

During the first-ever archaeological survey in Khyber Agency, a team of archaeologists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has discovered around 110 archaeological sites, including prehistoric rock carvings and paintings, in Malagori area of Jamrud tehsil.

The survey conducted for about two months was a pilot project initiated by the Khyber Agency political agent Khalid Mehmood with the help of Dr Abdul Samad, who is heading the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The survey that started as a friendly cooperation between the two young officers may be the tip of the iceberg as initial findings indicate that more archaeological wealth may be lying underneath waiting for centuries to be discovered. Continue reading


islamabad-600Associated Press of Pakistan
Saturday, 03 December 2016

ISLAMABAD: Archaeological experts have so far explored 15 ancient archaeological sites in Zone-IV of federal capital through its ongoing first-ever archeological survey.

The survey is being conducted by the Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) to find potential sites for documentation, excavation and preservation, saving the precious heritage for future generations.

“The number of identified archaeological sites has reached upto 15 in Zone-IV of the capital and the survey is continuing in different areas to find more historical relics”, Director Archaeology, DOAM, Abdul Azeem Tuesday said.

He said due to wheat cultivation in most areas of Zone IV, it was difficult to conduct survey in the main areas so we have shifted our focus to the boundary areas.

He said the experts have discovered historical monuments, worship places of the Sikh community before partition, mosques of the Mughal period, remains of the Buddhist period and a memorial of the British period wars.

Abdul Azeem, who is head of the project, said Zone IV of Islamabad was the biggest zone among all and the archaeological survey in this area was likely to be completed soon.

He said the archaeological survey in the federal capital was initiated to find the potential sites for excavation, documentation and preservation so that the historical places could be protected.

The team which is conducting archaeological survey comprises archaeological experts, photographers, draftsmen and other necessary staff who are recording the details of the sites for documentation and finding potential sites for excavation.

He said Assistant Directors, DOAM, Mehmood Shah and Asadullah were also part of the team which is conducting the survey.

The students of Hazara University and Quaid-e-Azam University are also accompanying the team of experts during the survey work on sites.


Archaeologists’ discovery puts Buddha’s birth 300 years earlier

British archaeologist Robin Coningham talks about a three-year expedition to Nepal, which could rewrite history

The Guardian
Elizabeth Day
Sunday 1 December 2013 03.00 EST

When Professor Robin Coningham’s youngest son Gus was five, he was asked at school what his father did. “He works for the Buddha,” said the boy. Which led to a bit of confusion, recalls Coningham.

But it turns out Gus was not that far off the mark. Last week it emerged that a team led by Coningham, a professor of archaeology and pro-vice-chancellor at Durham University, had made a startling discovery about the date of the Buddha’s birth, one that could rewrite the history of Buddhism. After a three-year dig on the site of the Maya Devi temple at Lumbini in Nepal, Coningham and his team of 40 archaeologists discovered a tree shrine that predates all known Buddhist sites by at least 300 years.

The impact of Coningham’s work is groundbreaking in many ways. Prior to this discovery, it had been thought that the shrine at Lumbini – an important pilgrimage site for half a billion Buddhists worldwide – marked the birthplace of the Buddha in the third century BC. But the timber structure revealed by archaeologists was radio-carbon-dated to the sixth century BC.

“It has real significance,” says Coningham, 47. “What we have for the first time is something that puts a date on the beginning of the cult of Buddhism. That gives us a really clear social and economic context… It was a time of huge transition where traditional societies were being rocked by the emergence of cities, kings, coins and an emerging middle class. It was precisely at that time that Buddha was preaching renunciation – that wealth and belongings are not everything.”

The early years of the religion took hold before the invention of writing. As a result, different oral traditions had different dates for the Buddha’s birth. This is the first concrete evidence that Buddhism existed before the time of Asoka, an Indian emperor who enthusiastically embraced the religion in the third century BC.

Legend has it that the Buddha’s mother, Maya Devi, was travelling from her husband’s home to that of her parents. Midway in her journey, she stopped in Lumbini and gave birth to her son while holding on to the branch of a tree. The research team believe they have found evidence of a tree in the ancient shrine beneath a thick layer of bricks. According to Coningham, it became clear that the temple, 20km from the Indian border, had been built “directly on top of the brick structure, incorporating or enshrining it”. Continue reading

The Common Thread



Beijing Journal
Buddhist art continues to link China, South Asia and beyond
By Sudeshna Sarkar | NO. 49 DECEMBER 8, 2016

Two conferences in four years changed Sanjay Garg’s professional focus, making him part of a movement that is seeking to bring to light a rich heritage shared by China and South Asia.
The first was in 2010 when Garg, currently deputy director of the National Archives of India in New Delhi, went to Vienna on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art. “It was amazing,” he said. “The entire who’s who of South Asian art and archaeology were there. I asked myself, why do we have to come to European countries to discuss our art?”

It was because, he explained, there was a “total disconnect” in the exchange of information and experiences about major discoveries in post-colonial South Asia after the work of primarily British archaeologists like Alexander Cunningham, the first director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) who excavated Buddhist sites in famed pilgrimage centers like Sarnath in India; John Marshall, the 19th-century ASI director general who led excavations in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, relics of the Indus Valley Civilization; and Robert Wheeler, who conducted excavations in India and Britain.

Total disconnect

“Ask an Indian archaeologist what has been happening in Pakistan in the last 15 years and the chances are he won’t know. Ask a Sri Lankan about Bhutan and you will find the same thing,” Garg said.

The thought was reinforced when he went to Dazu District in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality two years ago. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famed for rock carvings created between the 7-13th centuries.

“I was amazed by the in-depth research going on in China that we are not aware of, principally because of the language barrier,” he said. “One common thread runs between China and South Asian countries. That’s Buddhism. So the best way [of connecting] is to build a platform where research could be exchanged.”

Other Buddhist scholars were also thinking along similar lines and in 2014, when Li Chongfeng, professor of Buddhist art and archaeology at Peking University, and Kamal Sheel, professor of Chinese studies at the Banaras Hindu University in India, proposed establishing such an organization at the 2014 International Symposium on Dazu Studies in Dazu, it was met with enthusiasm. That is how the Society for Buddhist Art and Archaeology (SBAA) was founded.

Since then, the SBAA meets alternately in China or a South Asian country every year to discuss new discoveries based on a specific theme. Last year, the inaugural conference in New Delhi was about the Buddhist monasteries in China and South Asia. This year, the SBAA together with the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and Peking University’s School of Archaeology and Museology, held the second conference in Beijing on November 26-27. The International Conference on Buddhist Archaeology in China and South Asia discussed Buddhist archaeology in the region, especially rock and cave archaeology and art. Pakistan has been proposed as the host country next year when the conference will be themed on Buddhist art schools of South Asia and China.

The papers presented in 2015 were released as a monograph, Buddhist Monasteries of South Asia and China, this year, and this year’s papers will be collected in a volume to be released at the 2017 conference. Continue reading

AP govt told not to permit construction at Buddhist archaeological site

1370_high_courtTHE HANS INDIA | Nov 30,2016 , 03:42 AM IST

A two-judge PIL bench of the High Court at Hyderabad comprising acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Shanker Narayan on Tuesday directed the government of AP not to permit any construction at the Buddhist archaeological site at Tothlakonda near Visakhapatnam.

The bench made the interim order on a PIL filed by Prof Thimma Reddy and others. The petitioners challenged the action of the government in allotting its land in favour of Filmnagar Cultural Centre.

The petitioners pointed out that the land was part of Archaeology Site, Buddhist Complex, popularly known as Thotlakonda.

The petitioners alleged that the alienation was in violation of GOMS 571 which dealt with alienation of lands of government and also provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1960,.

The petitioners contended that this would destroy the archaeological site. It was further contended that the notified zone of archaeology site has to be protected as there are many potential archaeological elements/features that exist all around the presently excavated site within erstwhile S.No. 314 and further excavations and studies are necessary.

The fact of a comprehensive study by Dr Fogelin, a well-known scholar and the author of the book “ Archaeology of Early Buddhism,” based on his research on Thotlakonda, (on the Buddhist site of Thotlakonda) was acknowledged and taken note by the Archaeology Department.


1st Century Buddhist panels found

The Buddhist panels discovered on the bed of the River Gundlikamma in Prakasam district on Saturday

The Buddhist panels discovered on the bed of the River Gundlikamma in Prakasam district on Saturday

THE HANS INDIA | Nov 27,2016 , 01:37 AM IST

Vijayawada: Two Buddhist panels measuring 1.40X 0.55×0.13 metres depicting the worship of the Dharma Chakra were discovered on the river bed of the Gundlakamma River on Thursday at the village of Vennampalli at Tripurantakam Mandal, Prakasam District.

The panels made of Palnadu limestone represent the mature phase of Amaravati art and dates back to the 1st century AD when the area was ruled by the Satavahanas, said Dr Muniratnam Reddy of Archaeological Survey of India and Dr E Sivanagi Reddy, Buddhist Expert and CEO, The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada & Amaravati.

They said that the panels belonged to the Buddhist stupa located on Singarakonda hill at Chandavaram village and were used to encase the brick built stupa.They appealed the state Department of Archaeology & Museums to shift them to the site Museum at Chandavaram for safe custody and proper display.