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Swat varsity students carry out archaeological fieldwork

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The Italian archaeologist teaches excavation techniques to students of Swat University at Bazira site. — Dawn photo
The Italian archaeologist teaches excavation techniques to students of Swat University at Bazira site. — Dawn photo

MINGORA: Students and teachers of archaeology, cultural heritage, tourism and hospitality management of the University of Swat said on Friday that Swat valley had a rich cultural heritage and potential to attract tourists from across the world.

The students pursuing BS archaeology degree programme were sharing their views on conclusion of their two-week archaeological fieldwork at the ancient site of Bazira in Barikot, which was conducted by the Institute of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of Swat, in collaboration with the Italian Archaeological Mission to Pakistan.

During fieldwork, the students were engaged in the activities of excavation, exploration and conservation under the supervision of Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, the director, Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, and Dr Zarawar Khan, assistant professor archaeology of the University of Swat.

Similarly, in-charge of the institute Atif Iqbal and faculty member Farhad Nazir, briefed the students about the importance and role of cultural heritage in promotion of tourism.

Dr Luca Maria Olivieri appreciated efforts of the students and stated that they had got good potential to add new chapters to the unwritten history of Swat valley. “We hope that more such students in future will participate in our fieldwork,” he said.

The teachers said that practical activities enabled the students to learn in true sense. “This is why students were practically taught and engaged in excavation work at Bazira under the national and international archaeologists,” said Dr Zarawar.

He said that in Barikot the team conducted excavation in the Kushano-Sassanian phase which was dated to the 3rd-4th century CE and during their fieldwork many antiquities like Buddhist sculptures, coins, pottery, metallic objects, etc were discovered. He said that Swat remained the cradle of ancient civilisations and the students were lucky to have hundreds of archaeological sites in the valley.

Mr Iqbal said that the institute intended to create a sense of awareness and ownership for the protection of rich cultural heritage of Swat valley.

Farhad Nazir, a lecturer in the same institute, said that fieldwork in such an important historical city of Bazira would attract attention of new students to the institute. The students said that they practically learnt many things while working under expert archaeologists.

“The techniques of excavation adopted in a scientific way at the archaeological site enriched our skills,” said Sohail Khan, one of the students.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2018