WITH reference to archaeological and cultural heritage of old civilisations, scientific investigations are of high significance as these are aimed at analysing and characterising the context of a civilisation, and also ensure the conservation of physical findings.

A number of advanced techniques may be applied to ancient material that add value to the information. In principle, a key requisite for such investigations by archaeologists in the studies of ancient and precious material is that the selected techniques must not be destructive at the macro level.

To accomplish this, the synchrotron radiation-based investigation methods can play an essential role. Such techniques have never been employed extensively for the studies of Indus Civilisation owing to the high expenses and lack of infra-structure. For many other ancient civilisations, the technique has achieved remarkable results that have enabled us to understand the heritage in detail.

With the development of Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) project in Jordan jointly pursued by the European Union and numerous developing countries, including Pakistan, there is a hope to have proper scientific research.

There is the additional advantage of relatively easy availability of such an expensive and high-value facility for the scientific community in Pakistan, especially with a specialised facility designed for SESAME in order to enable research using synchrotron X-ray computed tomography (SXCT) from 2022 onwards, and there is a strong hope of accomplishing results that may reveal newer aspects regarding the heritage of the Indus Civilisation.

There is a strong need to develop collaboration between various disciplines and institutions both at national and international levels to pursue such advanced research. The researchers may be trained to utilise this facility to get optimal benefits.

Dr Intikhab Ulfat
Karachi

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021

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