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Rs283m Moenjodaro preservation project approved

November 09, 2012

LARKANA, Nov 9: The National Fund for Moenjodaro (NFM) has given the go-ahead to a Rs283 million development scheme for the 5,000-year-old city, which includes preparation of a master plan and dry core drilling at the site to help decode hitherto undecipherable language of the people of yore.

The decision was taken by the NFM executive board which met at Moenjodaro, 20 kilometres from here, on Friday, with Sindh Minister for Culture Sassui Paljio in the chair.

Secretary Culture Abdul Aziz Uqaili told journalists after the meeting that the board members expressed satisfaction on the approval of the scheme which included master plant, conservation, rehabilitation, restoration and measures to attract more tourists and developing archaeological site and upgrading museum.

He said the implementation of the scheme would begin in December 2012 and continue for three years.

“We plan to hold an international seminar in February 2013 so as to be able to assess overall development achieved,” he said.

New machinery, he said, would be purchased to tackle the issue of monsoon rains and drainage at the ancient site and 12 professionals would be recruited for the conservation of the ruins. Plantation at the site would be supervised by the commissioner of Larkana, he said.

About recommendation of the Technical Consultative Committee for Moenjodaro that certain areas of the site should be reburied, Mr Uqaili said that experts would discuss the idea at the planned international seminar.

Qasim Ali Qasim, director of the Sindh archaeology department, told journalists that dry core drilling and topographic mapping of Moenjodaro were vital components of the master plan to preserve the so-far excavated structures from onslaught of weather, waterlogging and salinity.

So far, he said, only 10 per cent of the gigantic site had been unearthed and 90 per cent still remained buried.

“In the light of UNESCO’s demand, we are concentrating on beginning with dry core drilling so as to learn the ‘extent’ of the site.

We have still no idea about the extent of its core area,” he said.

He said that Dr Dales had also tried to discover its extent but presence of underground water at just 34 feet below stopped him from going ahead with further drilling.

The drilling, Dr Qasim said, would help archaeologists in deciphering the hitherto unintelligible language of Moenjodaro people, their religion and rituals. “All that we have today is just surface unearthing,” he said.

“Under the master plan, we will try to apply modern methodology of ‘non-destructive-excavation’ with the help of modern machines,” he said. The ruins always faced a serious threat from monsoon rains, he added.

About reburial of some portions of the site, Dr Qasim said the Technical Consultative Committee had recommended reburying structures in ‘Munir Area’, L-area and HR-area which were less frequently visited but the worst-affected by rains and salt action.

The reburial with geo-textile cloth would preserve the structures’ originality, he said.

The recommendation would be discussed thoroughly by foreign experts at the international seminar. “We have focused on laying a viable drainage system with defined routes to let rainwater flow under gravitational force and avoid damage to the ancient structures in future,” he said.

The culture secretary said the meeting also decided to repair the old jeep used by Sir John Marshall which was presently stationed at the site.