BHANBORE, Thatta: Wonderful discoveries await at the famous Bhanbore site in Thatta where excavation will start soon.
Scholars and archaeologists at the “First International Bhanbore Conference” said that further studies will soon start at the Bhanbore site and digging of the site will resume soon after being halted decades ago. The excavations will shed light on various other aspects of the Bhanbore site such as the industrial area of the ruined city which is still waiting to reveal its treasures.
The conference was arranged by the Sindh Culture and Tourism Department and UNESCO. Sindh’s Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Speaker Sindh Assembly, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palijo inaugurated the moot.
Secretary Culture of Sindh, Abdul Aziz Uqaili said that Bhanbore is included in the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Uqaili added that some 130 archaeological sites were handed over to Sindh after the 18th Amendment.
“We are working on a four-phase master plan for the Bhanbore site and have already arranged electricity, rest house, water and sanitation facilities,” he added.
Talking about further plans, he revealed that the Sindh Culture Department will re-publish all the research work of Sir John Marshall on Mohenjodaro.
The Global Bhanbore
Professor of Archaeology and Heritage at the Boston University, Muhammad Rafique Mughal said that Bhanbore influenced other civilized centers of its times. It was a hub of trade and a part of world civilizations from the 8th to 12th Century AD.
Mughal said that the artifacts and pottery of Bhanbore have also been discovered from Africa, Gulf, Iran and Central Asia. Glass-making, pottery and coin making was common at the Bhanbore site.
Mughal called for children to be taught about remains like Bhanbore during their early years so they could own and protect these sites. He also emphasised including lessons about Pakistani heritage at the early stage of a curriculum.
The 893 AD Earthquake
French archaeologist Monique Kervran shared some of her findings about Bhanbore and said that it is now confirmed that Debal and Bhanbore are the name of the same place which was destroyed at 280 Hijra or 893 AD and famous historian Al-Muqaddasi wrote his account about the quake at Bhanbore.
Sharing his 2011 survey of Bhanbore, she said that a large number of human skeletons were also discovered which may show mass killings of people.
She said that Bhanbore is the only surviving site in the world having the span of second century BC to the Islamic Period.
Under water archaeology
Pakistan’s only trained Physical Anthropologist, Asma Ibrahim is now working on different sorts of glass unearthed from Bhanbore.
Ibrahim said that there are so many archaeological sites near Bhanbore which need to be studied in a comprehensive and unified manner. She told the audience that she discovered an archaeological site which is underwater and is visible only for three hours when the water retreats in low tide.
She said that archaeological sites of Juna Shah Bandar, Rano Kot and an ancient mosque were of equally important need comprehensive research.
She said that various types of glassware were discovered from the Bhanbore site which were placed in an unorganised order in the rooms at Bhanbore site. These had now been re-arranged, cleaned and classified after six month of hard work.
As glassware is important in archaeological study, Ibrahim said that she is studying and dating them through non-invasive methods. No glass kiln factory was discovered in Pakistan and India, but Bhanbore was an international route as it was an unavoidable trade passage in ancient times.
Very colorful glass ware, glass lamps, small perfumery bottles and beads have also been unearthed from the Bhanbore site, which need joint study both from historical and archaeological perspective.
Forts of Sindh
Another scholar Ishtiaq Ansari presented his paper about the Forts of Sindh. He said that Sindh has a distinction in South Asia that the oldest and the newest forts have been discovered here. Castles from various eras can also be found in Sindh.
Ansari said that the Bhanbore castle has an area of 14 acres with three gates. The Bhanbhore fort was designed according to best defense strategy.
Scholars from US, Canada and France also shed light on various aspects of the Bhanbore site during three different sessions.
Garden of Sassui
Professor Rukhman Gul Palari claimed that Jhirak is the birthplace of Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Palari stated that Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai also mentioned Bhanbore in his poetry. He said that a famous garden was located near the Bhanbore which was actually called “Garden of Sassui”. Richard Burton wrote about the garden in 1919. But unfortunately, the garden is now being destroyed and turned into check-post by law enforcement agencies.
“Another site near Malir which was related to the footprints of “Punhoon” – the lover of Sassui – was also eradicated by the Karachi Steel Mills administration,” he added.
Renowned folk singers and musicians also performed during the conference proceeding breaks. Awais Juman, Sarwar Gorai, Taj Mastani, Sanam Marvi and other singers narrated Sufi poetry and the traditional poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, which mesmerized the whole audience.