The ancient rock engravings at Gogdara site, Swat valley. — Dawn
The ancient rock engravings at Gogdara site, Swat valley. — Dawn

MINGORA: The large rock slab having petroglyphs in Gogdara-1 attracts cultural activists, historians, archaeologists and students in a large number.

The rock located at a short distance from road, at the foot of the northern slopes of Mt Sakhi-sar, in the Mt Elum chain depicts about 117 graffiti. It was first explored by Prof G Tucci, an Italian archaeologist and scholar, in 1955 during his first exploration in Swat valley.

“The engravings belong to the early phase of the first millennium BCE. The rock depicts 71 graffiti of animals and 17 represents different objects while 29 are unidentified graffiti,” said Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, the head of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan.

Visitors ask authorities to promote Gogdara-1 archaeological site

The site is visited by lovers of culture and history. They stay there for long to study and explore the engraved graffiti.

“These are not mere images of the animals and other objects but an entire sequence of the past giving us the picture of the lifestyle of the people of the area about 4,000 years ago,” said Shakil Khan, a visitor from Thana village.

He said that the site was important for the people of the country to learn about the history of the region.

The visitors said that every image of the rock was telling a story of the past. “It tells us as to what type of animals lived here in the ancient times, what type of transportation was used by the people and what type of decorative objects were in use,” said Inamullah Khan, another visitor at the site.

Cultural activists and historians said that the rock art at Gogdara-1 illustrated the life of the ancient people in the region and its surroundings. They said that the panoramic rock was a chapter of the history of Swat.

“Today, we see that it is only a rock with more than 100 engravings, giving us a pictorial story of the ancient times, the time when writing script was not invented,” said Shafiullah, another visitor to the site.

However, the visitors said that the site must be advertised by the government so that the tourists, who were interested in history, could visit it.

They said that its historical background with proper information should also be displayed at the site.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018