Category Archives: Archaeology

Up north: Call for exploration of archaeological sites

The remains of the Red Fort in Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. PHOTO: FILE

The remains of the Red Fort in Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir. PHOTO: FILE

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2015.

ISLAMABAD: Archaeology is a gateway to the past of any nation, and unexplored sites in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) regions hold great educational and tourism potential.

The lack of exploration is primarily due to lack of resources and the ‘problematic’ locations of some of the sites — right along the Line of Control.

Speakers at a seminar on new archaeological discoveries in AJK and G-B, held on Thursday at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU)’s Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisation (TIAC), stressed upon the government to establish museums in AJK and G-B. They also called for the provision of land for exploration, and introduction of archaeology as a subject at school and college-levels.

A TIAC team recently discovered more than 100 sites of archaeological importance in AJK, 80 of which were damaged by natural calamities in the region.

Archaeology and Museums Department Director-General Dr Muhammad Arif advised students to pay serious attention to artefacts found during surveys and unearthed during excavations as primary sources of research, besides review of literary sources. Continue reading

Kartemquin Films in campaign to save Buddhist heritage site

1217042_savingScreen Daily
27 April, 2015 | By Nadia Tseng

The Filmmakers behind Saving Mes Aynak have announced a global screening day to spread awareness about a 5,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site in Afghanistan on the brink of destruction.

Saving Mes Aynak premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam last November and follows archaeologist Qadir Temori and his fight to save the Mes Aynak site.

The filmmakers say the location in Taliban-controlled Logar Province is under threat from a Chinese state-owned mining company interested in the approximately $100bn dollars worth of copper below the land.

The archaeologists believe that only 10% of the site has been excavated.

The documentary’s director Brent E Huffman and documentary collective Kartemquin Films have announced that July 1 will be Global #SaveMesAynak Day, in which the film will be available globally via VHX.

The film will be broadcast on stations including Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English and will be available for screening at educational institutions and community venues.

The filmmakers plan to launch a campaign with Indiegogo to place international pressure on China Metallurgical Group Corporation the Afghan government and UNESCO. Continue reading

Buddha foot prints found during excavation in Chhattisgarh

The Times of India
Arjun Chouhan, TNN | May 27, 2015, 05.18PM IST

BILASPUR: In a major discovery the archaeological department has found Buddha foot prints, used for worship, during an excavation at village Damroo in Baloda Bazaar-Bhatapara district, about 60 km from here. The find assumes importance as such Buddha foot prints had not been found anywhere in central India up to now.

Damrooo is situated on the banks of river Shivnath and provides uninterrupted cultural sequences to the early historical chapter of Chhattisgarh. Archaeological excavation at the village has opened some new aspects in the history and archaeology of the state. There are three big mounds here that contain potteries of black ware, red slipped ware and fine fabrics. The site is surrounded by a circular rampart, or mud fort, popularly known as garh.

Speaking exclusively to TOI with regard to the recent findings at Damroo, director, archaeology Rakesh Chaturvedi informed that the mud fortification at Damroo measures about 370 south-west and 460 m east-west, with a maximum height of about nine m from the present surface. The western part of the site is vandalised by local residents. Continue reading

Takht-i-Bhai: A Buddhist monastery in Mardan


The ostentatious structure and imposing relics of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bhai (Throne of Origins) has captivated a large number of locals and tourists who have flocked to see the ancient site which dates back to early 1st century AD.

Listed in the World Heritage List, it is considered one of the most well-structured Buddhist monasteries in Gandhara district.

It is perched about 500 feet atop a small hill, about 2 kilometers east of the Takht Bhai bazaar in Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), once known as the heart of the Gandhara civilization, which attracts tourists, historians, archaeologists and Buddhists from across the world.

The Buddhist complex and the village, as locals say, is named after the two wells found on top of the hill near the complex, however, majority believe that takht means throne and bhai means water in Persian language.

“We believe that it was named after the spring located on the left side of the Buddhist site,” Habib khan, a local resident tells Dawn.




Continue reading

Fifth volume: Frontier Archaeology sees light of day after nine years

The Express Tribune
By Hidayat Khan
Published: May 6, 2015

PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa archaeology department’s flagship journal has seen the light of day after a gap of nine years.

The fifth volume of Frontier Archaeology carries eight research papers on the region’s heritage, one on ongoing excavation projects and one which analyses the art and architecture of K-P. The articles have been penned by national and international scholars under the guidance of K-P Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad. “We have ensured the academic value of the journal is not compromised. Pending journals will also be published soon,” said Dr Samad who served as the publication’s editor.


The journal includes an archaeological survey of Swabi conducted by scholars Saleh Muhammad Khan, Bakht Muhammad and Fawad Khan.

The survey attempts to document all unearthed immovable structures dating back to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and British periods and explains 123 sites in detail. Some of the Buddhist sites have already been partially excavated while some ancient temples, gurdwaras and bridges have been identified for the first time.

Saleh and Bakht have co-authored another paper on the archaeological sites of Hazara Division, Abbottabad district in particular. The report mentions 210 newly-discovered sites from periods as old as 2CE. Continue reading

New Gandhara Site Unearthed in Pakistan
By Abdur Razzaq

Sunday, 10 May 2015 00:00

Bhamala site The recent excavation aimed to expose the remaining portions of the site and to reconfirm that it dates back to the 7th century AD.

Bhamala site
The recent excavation aimed to expose the remaining portions of the site and to reconfirm that it dates back to the 7th century AD.

A 14-meter-tall statue depicting the death of Buddha made of kanjur stone was discovered last month during a 12-week excavation at the World Heritage Site of Bhamala in northwest Pakistan.

Bhamala is a historical village in the Taxila valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in northwest Pakistan.

The archeological site, which was erected by the ancient Gandhara Kingdom, is located along the northernmost part of the right bank of Haro River.

Taxila valley was included on the list of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1980.

The Bhamala Buddhist complex enjoys an important geographical position in the Taxila valley and is one of very few sites to have a cruciform stupa. Continue reading

Third century BC stupa discovered at ancient Buddhist site

Excavations being carried out at the newly discovered stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. The other pictures are of the discoveries unearthed.  — Dawn

Excavations being carried out at the newly discovered stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. The other pictures are of the discoveries unearthed. — Dawn


Excavations being carried out at the newly discovered stupa at Badalpur near Taxila. The other pictures are of the discoveries unearthed. — Dawn

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 25×25 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.

Know more: Rare discoveries made at Bhamula Stupa site

Professor Dr Ashraf Khan told Dawn 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.

554d2a8f5dae7He 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.

Unveiling the archaeological significance of the site, he said the site was early mentioned by Alexander Cunningham in 1863, the then director, Archaeological Survey of India, during his expedition to Gandhara. Continue reading