Pakistan-Italy archaeological mission launches excavation season

Published November 13, 2021
PROF Piacentini and Simone Mantellini share their plan with Culture Minister Syed Sardar Shah on the ‘Excavation Season 2021’ at the minister’s office on Friday.—Dawn
PROF Piacentini and Simone Mantellini share their plan with Culture Minister Syed Sardar Shah on the ‘Excavation Season 2021’ at the minister’s office on Friday.—Dawn

DADU: Prof Valeria Fiorani Piacentini, who heads an Italian team of experts and holds the charge of scientific director of the Pakistan-Italian Archaeological Mission on Banbhore, held a meeting with Sindh Minister for Culture and Education Syed Sardar Ali Shah in his office on Friday.

Field Director of the mission Simone Mantellini accompanied her at the meeting, which was also attended by director general of the antiquities and archaeology department Manzoor Ahmed Kanasiro.

Prof Piacentini told the minister that she had been doing her personal research work on archaeological sites in this region for decades.

Describing the sites as “unique”, she said she had found evidence of relations between Makran and Sindh. Their width and breadth went up to Jeewani, she noted.

She informed the minister that her mission had started the ‘Excavation Season 2021’ which would continue till the last week of December.

“As usual, the excavation season will conclude with an awareness session, where all the technical details and findings of the excavation will be shared with people,” she said. This year, the mission was concentrating on the environmental and marine side of exploration, she added.

The culture minister said various aspects of Sindh’s archaeology and heritage sites were discussed at length with the Italian archaeologits at the meeting.

Sardar Shah said he told Prof Piacentini that his department had already submitted dossiers on Nagarparkar and Banbhore with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) for their inclusion in list of World Heritage Sites.

He appreciated the mission for making joint efforts with Sindh government in the archaeology and certain other fields. He expressed his confidence that the efforts would lead to many explorations and discoveries at Banbhore. He noted that the mission could not visit Sindh last year due the Covid-19 pandemic, and said he was now pleased to see the mission here to resume its work.

Mr Shah said his department was committed to publish all the research work on Banbhore found in various journals.

“One comprehensive book on Banbhore is need of the hour,” he said.

The minister said he told the delegation that the codal formalities were being prepared and detailed work regarding establishment of the ‘Institute of Heritage and Scientific Research at Bhanbhore’ was under way. This institute is being established in collaboration with the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), he said.

Prof Piacentini observed that the history of civilisation in the Sindh region seemed to be similar to that of Rome.

The culture minister presented some rare books on the history of Sindh to the mission.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2021

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