NAWABSHAH: Consul General of France in Karachi Francois Dall’Orso on Friday visited Chahun Jo Daro — a site where traces of a 4,500-year-old civilisation similar to Moenjodaro were discovered in 1930 — to meet a team of experts from his country who have been excavating a specified piece of land for the past two weeks.
“The exploration is being carried out under a Pakistan-French joint archaeological mission,” the envoy told the media at the site situated near Jamal Keerio village along Nawabshah-Sakrand Road some 20 kilometres from Nawabshah city.
He appreciated the cooperation extended to the French team by the district administration, police and local people. The project, he said, was funded by the French ministry of foreign affairs.
Mr Dall’Orso observed that Chahun Jo Daro had some resemblance with Moenjodaro which served to indicate that the site was part of the Indus valley civilisation.
Aurore Didier, who heads the French archaeological mission, told the media that she along with her team had been doing research and exploration work at the 200x300-metre land for the past two weeks and intended to continue with the task for another three weeks.
“Actually we had started the research work last year,” she added. She said the mission would continue with its work for five years with five-six weeks of on-site exploration every year.
She referred to the history of the region and the research work done since 1930, and observed that Chahun Jo Daro was believed to be a centre of craftsmanship as suggested by some artefacts discovered at the site.
She stressed the need for preserving the discoveries made so far.
“We have found painted pottery, bangles, beads and a few terracotta objects during excavation at this site and they seemed to be as old as the Indus valley civilisation,” she said.
Chahun Jo Daro was first discovered by Indian archaeologist N.G. Majumdar in 1930, when some artefacts were found at the site. Later, the objects were sent to museums in Mumbai and the United States. However, no research work on the site was done in the next 80 years.
In 2011, the Sindh archaeology department undertook excavation at a 29-acre area surrounding the site in Nawabshah district and approached some foreign missions with exploration proposals.
Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2016