Can carbon dating solve the MYSTERY of rannikot?

Published February 5, 2017
— Photo by the writer
— Photo by the writer

The huge Rannikot Fort, built with stones and limestone, is a talismanic wonder of the world. Spread over a huge area, on zigzag black and brown hillocks, it has four gates: Sann Gate, Amri Gate, Shah-Pere Gate and Mohan Gate. Defensive entrenchments are built at little distances and are connected with fortified walls and footpaths.

In the surrounding area, there are three other fortresses — Miri Fortress, Sher-Garh Fortress and Mohan Fortress. The cause of constructing the fort here seems to be an abundance of water in this mountainous region. However, it is more plausible that the fort was built for defence and residential purposes.

Historical research indicates that rulers of different times have lived here and repaired it from time to time. Very old coins, terracotta of the Indus civilisation and engraved symbols such as the swastika, the peepal tree leaf, peacock, sunflower, lotus flower, remains of Zoroastrians and Buddhists and arrows from different times have been found here.

But who built it and when, is still a mystery. In the view of some scholars, it was constructed by the Talpur Amirs. However, this account is in dispute — many historians believe that the fort was built before the Kalhora and Talpur rulers.

The key to solving this mystery may be carbon dating. While archaeologist Italian Paolo Biagi and Renato Nisbet, an archaeo-botanical researcher, did collect samples for radiocarbon dating in 2009, their choice of sample has been controversial. Nisbet and Biagi took the sample from the Sann Gate which was not a part of the original construction of the Rannikot Fort.

Historians argue that a more accurate date could be determined if material from the Shah-Pere Gate — where the outer repaired wall has crumbled exposing the actual or ancient inner wall — was radiocarbon dated instead. Till this happens, the debate amongst historians about how old Rannikot really is shall continue.

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, February 5th, 2017

Opinion

Editorial

UNGA speech
25 Sep, 2022

UNGA speech

CRISES test a nation’s resilience but also provide opportunities to rise and move forward. Prime Minister Shehbaz...
Dar’s return
Updated 25 Sep, 2022

Dar’s return

Dar will now be expected by his party to conjure up fiscal space for the govt to start spending ahead of the next elections.
Iran hijab protests
25 Sep, 2022

Iran hijab protests

FOR over a week now, Iran has been witnessing considerable tumult after a young woman died earlier this month in the...
Post-flood economy
Updated 24 Sep, 2022

Post-flood economy

WITH a third of the country — especially Sindh and Balochistan — under water, over 33m people displaced, and...
Panadol shortage
24 Sep, 2022

Panadol shortage

FROM headaches to fever to bodily pain — paracetamol is used ubiquitously in Pakistan as the go-to remedy for most...
Star-struck cops
24 Sep, 2022

Star-struck cops

IN this age of selfies and social media, it is easy to get carried away in the presence of famous people, even if ...