Conserving heritage : Archaeology officials trained in preventing bio-growth

UNESCO workshop focuses on measures against bio-deterioration at Taxila World Heritage Site

News Desk November 23, 2014

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is training academia and Punjab archaeology department officials in conserving the Taxila World Heritage Site against bio-deterioration.

In this regard, a four-day capacity building workshop started at the Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) Islamabad on Sunday.

The workshop is aimed at enhancing capacity of relevant officials through scientific study of bio-growth, its impact on the site and conservation measures against bio-deterioration. A total of 25 officials of Punjab Department of Archaeology, Hazara University and CIIT are attending the workshop.

Addressing the inaugural session, Unesco Director Vibeke Jensen said Pakistan possesses diverse cultural heritage with great potential to contribute to peace, cultural diversity, and sustainable development.

She said that Pakistan had signed the World Heritage Convention of 1972 and the 2003 Convention on Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage which indicates its commitment to safeguard its cultural and community heritage and transmit the same to upcoming generations.

“The joint initiative by Unesco, CIIT and archaeology department to protect the World Heritage Site of Taxila against bio-deterioration is a good example of public-private partnership and sharing expertise, knowledge and resources to protect the irreplaceable cultural heritage of the nation”, she added.

Punjab Archaeology Director Dr Saleemul Haq appreciated Unesco’s efforts in safeguarding heritage of Pakistan and applauded the valuable support provided to conserve Mohenjo Daro, Lahore Fort, Shalimar Garden and the Taxila world heritage site.

Taxila is one of the six world heritage sites of Pakistan inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980, with a vast complex of archaeological heritage, including a Mesolithic cave, four settlement sites, a number of Buddhist monasteries of various periods and mosques of the medieval period. Most of the Buddhist stupas and monasteries at Taxila date back to one to fifrht century AD.

Bio-growth is one of the major issues at the site that not only affects the visibility and appearance but also causes structural damage, particularly in the Sirkap and Dharmarajika sub-sites of Taxila.

The workshop will conclude on November 26.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2014.


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