Excavation of Ganweriwala paused

Archaeological project scheduled to recommence on October 15

Asif Mahmood April 03, 2024


The excavation work in Ganweriwala, a city larger than Harappa and home to the ancient Indus civilisation in the Cholistan desert, has been paused due to the increasing temperature and unavailability of local workers.

The remnants of Ganweriwala, located 60km from the Derawar Fort, were discovered in 1975 by Dr Muhammad Rafiq Mughal, a former director general of Punjab Archaeology Department.

However, excavation efforts were hindered by insufficient resources, water scarcity and a manpower shortage near the site.

The excavation project was initiated on February 24 under the leadership of Dr Mughal.

The archaeology department, in collaboration with the THAAP heritage organization and the commissioner of Bahawalpur, played a major role in the project’s initiation. Dr Sajda Vandal, the Head of the THAAP Heritage Project, also participated in the process.

A team of 50 professionals, including senior experts from the department, three women archaeologists, students of the archaeology departments in government universities, cameramen and security staff, participated in excavating the 7,000-year-old relics.

Former archaeology director Afzal Khan told The Express Tribune that with the onset of the wheat harvesting season in the area, the local labourers, who had undergone training for digging, had returned to their homes.

New workers were brought in, but they needed to undergo training.

Additionally, the temperature had begun to increase in the area. With a majority of the workers fasting, the initial phase of excavation has been halted.

The excavation is scheduled to recommence on October 15.

Khan added that the 35-day excavation had produced noteworthy findings, uncovering distinct zones dedicated to both settlement and commercial activities.

Experts maintain that the city served as a prominent centre of the Indus Valley Civilisation from 2600 to 1900BC.

The survey findings reveal that the inhabitants of Ganweriwala possessed remarkable proficiency in the craft of bead making, as evidenced by the collected artefacts.

Additionally, they exhibited great skill in various handicrafts, such as pottery and sculpting. Experts claim there are about 500 archaeological sites in the Cholistan desert, the most important of which is Ganweriwala.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2024.


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