SAHIWAL: The first phase of the excavation at the archaeological site of Ganweriwala in Cholistan has ended after 35 days due to rising temperatures in the desert and the unavailability of local labourers.

This pause is attributed to the ‘wheat harvesting season’ when labourers return to their agricultural areas to harvest wheat. The excavation, led by renowned archaeologist Dr Rafique Mughal began on Feb 24 and concluded on March 30. Zameer Hussain, the camp manager, informed Dawn by phone that the process of refilling the excavated site is underway and it is expected to be completed within a couple of days.

According to sources, a team of 50 professionals, including three female archaeologists, six interns from three public universities, senior officials from the archaeological department, camera crew and security personnel has departed from the site. The excavation was conducted by THAAP Heritage in collaboration with the Punjab Department of Archaeology and the Bahawalpur commissioner.

Dr Sajida Vandal, the project lead, THAAP Heritage, saw participation of three young female archaeologists and six students from the Archaeology Department of Balochistan University, Quetta, Punjab University, Lahore, and Islamia University Bahawalpur. A temporary tent compound spanning two acres was set up for the accommodation of archaeologists.

Muhammad Afzal Khan, the former director of the archaeology department, said the 35-day excavation yielded significant findings, including the evidence of separate zones for both settlement and industrial areas.

The excavation would restart when better weather conditions and availability of workers.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2024

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