MULTAN: The Punjab Archeology Department will excavate the mound of Dillu Roy, which according to the archaeologists, dates back to the Buddhist era, Dawn has learnt.

Locally known as Dillu Roy Therre, the site is located in Mauza Khanpur, Kot Chutta tehsil of Dera Ghazi Khan, but is situated hardly 3.5 kilometres north-west of Jampur on Dajal Road.

The site was reportedly the part of the Kushan Empire, which, according to Wikipedia, “was a Syncretic Empire by the Yuezhi, in the Bactrian territories in the early first century and was spread to encompass much of Afghanistan, present-day Pakistan, and then the northern parts of India at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares), where inscriptions have been found dating to the era of the Kushan emperor Kanishka the Great who was a great patron of Buddhism”.

According to the local mythology, the ruler (Raja) of the city had decreed that every bride would spend her first night with him. To teach him a lesson, his own daughter wore the bridal dress of an artisan’s daughter and slept with the Raja. The incest by the ruler invoked the wrath of the goddess of disaster. Soon, the city was destroyed in floods.

The site was notified as protected on Feb 26, 1964 under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act of 1904 but it was in 2016, when an attendant was deployed at the site to protect it. Antiquities and artefacts discovered from the site are deposited in the Harappa Museum.

A local MNA is also stated to have a good collection of the objects discovered from the site. The artefacts discovered from the site due to rains or digging by farmers include plain and painted stamps and pottery besides shreds with appliqué decoration.

According to a 1962 report, available with the archaeology department, plain shreds vary from thin texture bowls to thick heavy rimmed jars. “The bowls mostly having grooves on both sides are flaring outside. In the plain type sherds with incised circles, leaf pattern, curved lines six-pointed star incised in double lines are prominent”, the report states. It stated that a few pottery mould with flower and leaf motifs have also been discovered; other finds include sling balls, dabbers, oil lamps, spoon handles, terracotta wheels and animal figurines.

“The specimens of bottle-necked have the curved flange, and the conical knob at the top is quite similar in all respects to the types recovered from the Scythe-Parthian levels of Bhanbhore, Taxila and Pitalkora (India) and they may be dated to the first century BC to the second century AC.

“Many historians believe the site remains buried underneath thousands of years of dust, sandstone until they were re-discovered in1858 by archaeologists. The ancient city is named after a Brahman prince called Dillu Roy. The city is situated in a vast area but the locals have started cultivating crops on its major parts, thus encroaching upon the heritage site. Some people believe that the city consisted of four bastions which were used to guard the city and its people. However, with the passage of time, the bastions were demolished and now only their traces were left”, the report adds.

Currently, the site consists of 262 kanals, but, according to local journalist Aftab Khan Mastoi, the site is on a large area between Choti Zarain Road to Dajal Road. The site has two mounds, of which one has been identified as the city and other as the fort.

Multan Archeology Sub-Divisional Officer Malik Ghulam Muhammad said local farmers had dug both mounds exposing the ruins of houses and streets there. He said mud-brick walls of the ruined city were still intact as some of the walls with traces of mud plaster stand as high as 12 feet while at some places complete rooms are visible. He said that two building periods of the city had been unearthed due to deep trenches dug by the farmers. He said the small mound (the fort) was in a rectangular shape, which is located in the north of the city and is about 20 feet higher from the cultivated fields around the site. He said the fort’s walls are 10 to 15 feet wide and are made of mud bricks, strengthened with bastions.

“As many as 22 bastions of the wall can easily be identified. The bastions on corners are higher and larger than others while there is a brick in the middle of the fort wall which is flanked by bastions and probably indicating the gateway,” he said. He said that site was not surrounded by agricultural fields but local people were damaging the mound through cultivating and digging the site.

He said that the Punjab Archeology Department had prepared a plan costing Rs17.036 million for the preservation of the mound, of which Rs10 million had been allocated in 2017-18. He said a boundary wall was being constructed at the site while the department had planned to conduct the archaeological excavation of the mound, the establishment of a camp office, preservation and restoration of excavated remains, purchase of machinery and hiring of staff.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2017

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