BAHAWALPUR: Three antique cast-iron shells of varying sizes of a 1,000-year-old catapult (manjanik) have been discovered from the debris of a wall of the decaying Derawar Fort in Cholistan located 70 kilometres from here, according to the Punjab archaeology department.

The shells were retrieved from the remains of a collapsed pillar of the fort’s wall which is currently being repaired.

According to the Sub-divisional Officer of the department, Ghulam Muhammad, the shells are round in shape and weigh about three, five and eight kilogrammes.

He said that they were discovered during the excavation of the foundation for the construction of the pillars to extend support to the collapsed parts of the fort’s boundary wall. The height of the fort’s outer wall is said to be about 35 metres and it is nearly 1,500 metres long.

The retrieved iron shells were buried deep in the ground and it appeared that they must have been shot by catapults fixed inside the fort many centuries ago.

Mr Muhammad said that while he could not ascertain the exact period, the shells were at least 1,000 years old.

At the moment the shells are with the archaeology department in Multan.

Mr Muhammad said that they would be handed over to the Bahawalpur museum for display.

He said that it was the duty of the local museum officials to carry out research regarding the shells to help and guide students involved in studying heritage.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2017

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