The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Directorate of Archeology and Museums scrapped the excavation project of Aziz Dheri archeological site in Swabi district months ahead of its completion. The plug was pulled with interesting findings abandoned on the verge of discovery.
“The project began on January 11 and was expected to continue till the end of June. However, it was terminated citing lack of funds by the outgoing director of archeology on March 22,” said a source privy to the matter.
According to him and other insiders, a complete votive stupa – a grave-like structure used to store holy relics – was discovered during a month-long excavation drive. In addition, a large cache of antiquities, including coins, seals and sculptures were also found.
The discovery of the votive stupa in Aziz Dheri is the third of its kind in the 100 years of archeological endeavours in Gandhara. “The first votive stupa was discovered in 1913-14 by Sir John Marshal in Taxila, while the other by Dr Abdur Rehman of the University of Peshawar in Butkara, Swat in 1985-86,” he said, adding: “The third in Aziz Dheri was discovered in February 2013.”
The source claimed the excavation resulted in unearthing 309 coins dated between 120AD and 458AD, 109 seals and around 60 sculptures, making it one of the largest finds in the history of Gandhara archeology.
He said the site is still in very good shape, with stucco plaster and red stucco-lustro paint applied for protection. Stucco is used as a decorative coating that hardens the surface when applied; stucco-lustro is a form of plaster applied to create glossy surfaces.
However, salinity and termites threaten the site’s existence. Since the project was terminated, the red paint has started to erode. The source claimed he was shocked upon his visit to the site a month ago, saying the weather has taken its toll on the archeological treasure.
Chemists and engineers are imperative for Aziz Dheri’s preservation, he added. “Though a shade was built over the stupa, it is not enough, and glass panels are absolutely necessary for protection.”
He termed the project’s termination a “blunder” and alleged the outgoing director probably wanted to use the discoveries to extend his tenure. “The government, however, did not grant him one, which is why he called off the project.”
Acting Director of Archeology Nidaullah Sehrai acknowledged the project was terminated by the outgoing director. “We will allocate money for this project again after we get funds from the government,” he added.
Attack on police
On June 4, unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened fire at a police guard present at the site. The guard died on the spot, while the culprits took away his gun and managed to escape. Sources at the archeology department claimed police detained around 10 employees involved in conservation work, and tortured them for days.
“This site is very popular among illegal diggers because it is rich in antiquities. Previously, staff working there have also been harassed,” said one of the officials. “The police, however, did not extend any security despite requests.”
Case investigation officer Gul Sher Khan said the attack is being investigated, but the motives behind it remain unclear. We are not sure whether this attack was related to illegal-digging or something else, he added. “We have made arrests and are investigating.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2013.
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It will happen, as the whole of District Swabi is running by only an 11 scale gallery assistant at Hund Museum, there were posts for field officers but they were converted to Superintendent by the previous director thus giving benefits to clerks, and the present acting director has submitted their promotion case. there is no place no higher post for archaeologist in this department so these incidents will happen,
I am a General visitor Of Peshawar Museum. i will highlight some issue regarding Peshawar museum . I visit Peshawar museum 3 month Ago and condition of museum was not Good. In Gandahara section some sculpture were laying on Floor of Showcase , in coin section more then 20 coin were laying on showcase floor, Condition of cleanness was Bad. toilet of museum show the story of Public Letren . On Islamic Section work was start i ask what is going on in this section i receive a reply that showcase and other stuff is changing in progress. Co-indecently i visit Museum some days ago i saw the same story again then i try to find Peshawar Museum Curator but he was not in his office. then i ask some official they reply new minister is coming so that y work in under progress in islamic section . New Minister for Sport will inaugurate This new section Display. So in A poor country A minister will inaugurate a museum for 10th time . This museum is running from more then 100 year . So soon New Minister Mamu banay ga .. Minister mamuu baan jayee :) munna bahi
@Faqir Ipi: u really think that money to a government of that of Haiti would do any good to the nation??? such countries fund the third world to build dams, schools etc etc... the amount of certain economic aids been given to the third world should have elevated those countries long time ago...whats the use of asking money when its not gonna reach the end user or gonna benifit the end user in anyway ...its gonna get distributed among the top hierarchy ... why should first world imperialist give any more money to the third world economies when their accountability and credibility is a big zero..
@Qazi Ijaz: hello can i do the role of Qazi Ijaz part 4 in this movie :)
@Qazi Ijaz: There's only one Qazi Ijaz in the archeology department and he has not the habit of writing such comments. If you're true why don't you reveal yourself and give us your contact information so we could verify you. You can express yourself in anyway you want, but be bold enough to write under your name.
Dear Real Qazi Ijaz and other Qazi ijaz ahmad. first make it clear who is real and who is not. Two person is denying Real Qazi Ijaz and Qazi Ijaz Ahmad :) For your kind information this is open source Comment and discussion Forum Under Tribune News paper. Every Pakistani have a rights To Discuses any Matter . Under constitution of Pakistan Media is 4th pillar of Pakistan. And we r Proud of it. I write the above statement and i Stand on it. in this whole world r u the only qazi ijaz ? kindly make it clear R u any celebrity or u r Prime Minister or u Sir Imran Khan or u r Sir ( Cm Khattak Sahib ) that denying Message on a open source Media. I Stand on this and i Request C.M of Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to make a inquiry on this Matter. I stand on thia that Mr Nida iz Just a Simpel M-A archaeology and he is a Lecturer in Peshawar university. And It is mention in Establishment Code of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that a Lecturer of University is equal to 17 grade Provincial government Employ. I also Request Mr Tarik jameel secretary of sport to give some time to Archaeology Department.
@Qazi Ijaz: This statement is not given by me. Someone is using my name to promote his own dirty designs. In future any statements issued under my name should not be considered as genuine. I refute this statement.
@Faqir Ipi: well thats how the third world is .... people kill each other or the govt watches the spree with popcorns hooting to the movie but doing nothing... thats the reason british are never going to return the kohinoor and nor the gloden peacock throne of maharaja ranjit singh to south asia ... and one cant blame the government employees as the system itself armtwist's the whole country ...
Thank for sharing your knowledge.
I am not expert on the subject, what I wanted to highlight that there are places of historical nature Bannu nearby Waziristan, which is not only neglected by Govt, Academics but also media.
These places need immediate attention of at least Media.
Punching Note :-
What a Fascinating contrast of extremes
Taliban blowing ancient sight by TNT
Media, Govt, Acadmics destroying ancient sight by neglect .
@Faqir Ipi: stupas are related to buddhism and not hinduism ...both are DIFFERENT one is polytheist and one is atheist... hindu architecture has triangualr domes and Buddhist stupas are usually similar to spaceships ... as they talk about universe in the brain with no concept of god .... gandhara era is related to Buddhism and please stop mixing both the religions they are different from each other ... budhism is against brahmanism so how it can ever be same to hindusim as they dont follow caste system .... and everybody knows hinduism is not a religion its just a "way of life" ... and mahabharat was written in 2nd mellinium BC not from the time of evolution of humanity something older than that is ANTENISM (egyptian conventional religion) and even older than that is Sin ( mesopotamian mythology ) dating to 2047-2030 BC during the time of Ur- Nammu ....now for god sake dont call them hindus too uffff these RSS people are everywhere ...
it is interesting that nowhere in this article was there any reference to which country this is in. most can figure it out, but it would be better reporting to actually mention more relevant details.
Dear Editor As u Say Acting Director of Archeology Nidaullah Sehrai acknowledged the project was terminated by the outgoing director. “We will allocate money for this project again after we get funds from the government,” So my Point is What A acting director can Do ? Nothing . Mr Nidaullah sehrai is on deputation from Peshawar university he is in grade 17 and acting charge is given to him of Garde 19 bcoz of his good relation with Previous Government . In Whole Khyber pakhtunkhwa Previous Government find only Nida he is not an expert he is Simpel M-A archaeology . For this Post We need a Young energetic and At least a Ph.D Doctor. Pervious Govt give him Additional Charge of the Post of Director of Archaeology & Museum Purely on Temporary Basis . where is Pti Government We dont have a Minister for sport and tourism & archaeology and Museum. secretary Mr Tarik Jameel is also busy bcoz he is not happy with this office. and Director Archaeology is a 17 grade Peshawar university Lecturer . Allah he Hafiz to Archaeology department
I think it's good that nothing has been excavated. If a stupa (which are normally not portable) or other things which cannot be taken to museums are excavated, they will face the risk of being destroyed by the hands of we-know-who. Let them lie in wait till the situation has cleared up on the surface, and then we can safely take 'em out. :)
Some unknown facts from History and forgotten Archeological Sites at Southern KPk. . .
The origin of the Indus Valley civilization can be traced back to ancient Areas of Waziristan, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank and Southern KP that later on gifted the world the science of civil engineering and town planning. The emergence of Hinduism can easily be traced from this very region.
Akra near Bannu is almost 2000 to 3000 years ancient site. It was most developed area of that era. There are different monds in nearby villages and town like Sarai Naurang, Sher Kalla, Qazi Dheeri from Buddhist era and even prior to that. These sites needs immediate attention and at-least coverage by Media like Tribune
There is a Bharat Kalla nearby Bannu, the name is as old as human existence. Maha Bharat is the name of Hindu Scripture.
Qais Abdu Rasheed (supposed to Pashtuns Father) had 3 sons, the name of 1 son was Mandan , again Mandan is an area nearby Bannu.
Most of Pashtuns were nomads and used to live a simple life in rural areas. The only city of Pashtuns was Bannu. Peshawar/Kohat used to be city of Hindku Speaking whereas DI Khan was city of Saraiki Speaking.
Pathan word is derived from Battan, which is strong part of ship facing water and air direct impact. This word is most probably derived from Baitani. Again a sister tribe of Marwats . . .
Further it is Pashtoo not Pakhtoo as it would have Pekhawar not Peshawar.
Now coming to recent Pashtun History, on Leadership, our area of Southern KPk is the epi center of Pashtuns. Many great dynasties and their fore fathers traces their origion/roots to our area, namely Abdali, Suri, Lodhis, Khiligi and Khushal Khan Khatak.