SWAT: Archaeologists claimed to have discovered the secondary gate of Bazira city and some unique artefacts during fresh excavation in Barikot, Swat.
Led by Dr Elisa Lori, deputy director Italian archaeological mission in Pakistan, the team said that Bazira was one of the most important archaeological sites in Pakistan where excavation work had been under way since 1984.
According to archaeologists, the city was captured by Alexander in 327 BCE during his Indian campaign. Bazira is located in Barikot tehsil about 20-kilometre away from Mingora.
The experts said that they made important discoveries during the recent excavation, undertaken with the help of provincial archaeology department.
Experts also find unique artefacts during fresh excavation
“We discovered the secondary gate in the south-western stretch of the city wall that gave the ancient visitor access to the main street of the south-western neighbourhood of the city. This evidence enriches our knowledge on the history of the urban layout of the city of Barikot from the Indo-Greek to the Kushano-Sasanian period,” Dr Elisa Iori told this scribe.
She said that a large quantity of materials of different kinds were found that included coins, Kharosthi inscriptions on pottery, beads for bangles and necklaces, terracotta figurines and several relief’s fragments, representing the life of Buddha.
She said that one of the most peculiar recoveries was that of a large-sized right-spiraling ritual conch shell (about 15-centimetre long). It was found during the excavation of the Buddhist temple.
“From ancient texts and sculptures, we know that in Buddhism, as well as in ‘Hinduism’, conch shells were important ritual objects traditionally blown as trumpets during ceremonies. The recovery of such a ritual object coming from long-distance travel is quite unique in archaeological context,” she said.
Archaeology directorate representative Nasir Khattak, who was part of the team, told this scribe that the new discovery was important both in respect of architecture and chronology.
“During the previous excavations, the oldest apsidal Buddhist temple was discovered. This campaign is meant to expand it during which we have made some new discoveries but could not open the complete complex,” he said.
He said that archaeologists would try to completely open the complex in the next excavation season after Ramazan.
Last year, Italian and Pakistani archaeologists discovered the apsidal temple, which was constructed during Ashoka’s reign in the Mauryan period, around 250 BC.
POLLS: Malakand Commissioner Syed Zaheerul Islam has ordered district administration and police to deploy lady searchers at the polling stations and ensure effective security of the polling stations during the local government elections.
He was presiding a meeting to review arrangements for holding the second phase of local bodies’ elections in seven districts of Malakand. “The regional election commission would have full support of administration and all kinds of facilities would be provided to the election staff,” said the commissioner.
Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2022