TAXILA, July 1: A team of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilization (TIAC) has discovered around 200 objects of first century AD during excavations at ancient Buddhist Stupa and monastery, locally called Badalpur, near Taxila.

The team consisting of scholars and students was headed by TIAC director Prof Dr Mohammad Ashraf Khan.

The newly discovered objects mostly stamped pottery parts of terra cota, iron pieces and lamp which according to initial study belongs to Kushan period.

The TIAC Director while talking to this reporter at the site said that so far main assembly hall of the stupa and kitchen area of the monastery had been excavated.

He said they had made good progress and with the passage of time more discoveries were expected although the site had been ruined by illegal treasurer hunter.

He said since the site had the potential of holding ancient treasures, TIAC in collaboration with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's department of Archaeology and Museums initiated the excavations and preservation of this Buddhist Stupa and monastery.

He said first excavation at the site was carried out in 1916-17 by Sir John Marshall, second in 2005 and then in 2006. He said that earlier excavations and study found the site almost congruous to other sites of Taxila but different from its structures which were held with mud plaster from the exterior and interior surfaces, a distinguished feature of this site which was absent in Taxila.

“It appears from the large number of coins and seals recovered from Badalpur site that this area was once under the domination of the big empires on its border and was under the influence of Indo-Greek, Sakas, Parthians and Kushans until the region was invaded by White Huns,” he said.

He said that keeping in view the importance of the excavations, not only scholars from different national universities like Punjab, Khairpur and Peshawar University but also from across the world including Sorbonne University, Paris and German and Australian university had showed their interest to join the excavations.

He said that earlier Thailand offered funds for restoration, preservation and conservation of this site in 2005.

Responding to a question, he said the discoveries brought new facts relating to Gandhara culture to the fore and suggested that in the light of new and substantial evidence the history of Taxila should be rewritten. He said that according to plan the excavations would complete by December this year.

He urged Buddhist states like Korea, Japan beside UNESCO to provide funds for its excavations and preservation of the site for future generations as TIAC had limited funds.

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