Wheat and barley grains found at Rehman Dheri site. — Dawn
Wheat and barley grains found at Rehman Dheri site. — Dawn

PESHAWAR: Two archaeologists, who began excavation at the historic site of Rehman Dheri in Dera Ismail Khan after a break of 20 years, have found burnt grains of wheat and barley dating back to more than 5000 years.

Rehman Dheri is a pre-Harappan archaeological site, which dates back to 4000BC.

Archaeologists believe Rehman Dheri is one of the earliest planned or urbanised city found in South Asia to date.

The archaeological site of Rehman Dheri has been part of the tentative list since 2004 to qualify for inclusion in the Unesco World Heritage List.

Dr Abdul Samad and Dr Zakirullah Jan have found more evidence which show many other socio-cultural aspects of the people, who might have built and lived in this place dating back to pre-Indus Valley Civilisation.

“The burnt grains is an evidence that it was an agrarian society,” says Professor Zakirullah Jan of University of Peshawar, who along with director (archaeology and museums) Dr Abdul Samad, had undertaken excavation at Rehman Dheri in March 2015 to dig deeper into the archaeology of the site dating back to pre-Indus Valley Civilisation.

Burnt grains of wheat, barley dating back to over 5000 years found at DI Khan site

The site was first explored in 1971 by Professor Ahmad Hassan Dani and excavated by Professor Farzand Ali Durrani from 1976 to 1982, who has had published a detailed report about the site.

Dr Ihsan Ali had also worked on the site.

The site is located ideally on the major caravan trade routes in South Asia, southern Afghanistan, eastern Iran, Balochistan and Central Asia.

The new traces and antiquities found at the site, including pottery in different designs, have convinced the two archaeologists that there were different aspects to the place site, which need to be explored though it is considered the first or earliest urbanised and well-planned city in South Asia. There are some 300 archaeological sites of Indus Valley Civilisation.

“We plan to complete scientific mapping of the site before sending its samples to laboratories in the US for further study,” Dr Samad said, adding that some pieces of charcoal found could tell more about the age and history of the site.

Those, who worked at the site for years, found all salient features of the Indus Valley Civilisation there like town planning, pictographic writing system, seals and ceramic technology in early form.

Professor Zakirullah said Rehman Dheri had all the evidence that it was a literate society as there existed a writing system.

And it was also quite mature in town planning as such components were found, which showed that ideas of town planning matured there.

Nothing much was available at the site except thousands of broken utensil remains and stones to earlier researchers.

However, the two archaeologists currently working there have found 5000 years old wheat and barley traces showing there was more history hidden underneath waiting to be discovered.

“The digital mapping of Rehman Dheri is on the cards to know the width and length and boundary of the site,” said Dr Abdul Samad.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2015

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