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Pre-historic site discovered in Kallar Syedan

July 05, 2009

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The survey of archaeological and historical monuments began on June 25 and the first site that was documented was Shah Allah Ditta caves. —Dawn

A research team of the Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations of Quaid-i-Azam University has started a survey and documentation of archaeological sites and historical monuments in the district of Rawalpindi and Islamabad territory. The survey team that works under the supervision of Prof Dr Muhammad Asraf Khan, the director of TIAC, comprises academic staff members Dr Ghani-ur-Rahman, Sadeed Arif, Rafiullah and Ph.D Scholars Badshah Sardar, Saleem-ud-Din and Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro.

The survey of archaeological and historical monuments began on June 25 and the first site that was documented was Shah Allah Ditta caves. The survey team documented murals in cave No. 2 which depicts Shiva. Apart from Buddhist monks and Jain munis (ascetics) the caves were also used by Hindu Sadhus. However, the discovery of the team at Shah Allah Ditta had two funerary wall enclosures near Mohra Malhiar at Shah Allah Ditta village which belong to early Mughal period. One of the wall enclosures is still in fairly good condition. The portico of the wall enclosure which faces east is decorated with arches. Another wall enclosure which is situated west of the one just described is in crumbling condition. Only the eastern wall of the enclosure has survived. One can see there a large number of tombs constructed of Kanjur stones.

On the same day, Baoli of Akbar the great at Kenthala village was also documented. The Caravan Serai at Serai Kharbuza was also studied. The rock shelter at G-13 was surveyed as well. A large number of potsherds from the site were collected.

However, on the other day, the team discovered a very ancient site at Takkal in Kallar Syedan tehsil. Kallar Syedan is a historical town boasting some of the remarkable buildings of the past. The town rose to prominence during the Sikh rule that left a number of imprints in the form of magnificent havelis, grand and splendid Gurdwaras and small fortress dotted in the whole of Rawalpindi district. Apart from historical monuments, the landscape of Kallar Syedan is dotted with a number of mounds and rock shelters. T.T Paterson, a pre-historian, carried out a pioneering work on the Paleolithic cultures in Soan valley in 1935. According to him south westerly course of the Kansi river is controlled by a series of early Middle Pleistocene anti-clinal ridges between which it runs, and into which it has incised its course since late middle Pleistocene times. These ridges can be followed upstream to the town of Kallar where they become more prominent.

There are many rock shelters which are located in these ridges. However, there exist five rock shelters and two caves in these ridges which were used by human in pre-historic times. This site is very close to Sangni fort from where stone pestle, grinder, potsherds and pieces of glass bangles were found.

One finds a large number of fossilized trees at rock shelters. Many artefacts were collected from the site. Potsherds, grinder and pestle were collected.

These rock shelters are located at dry hill torrent. Southeast of the rock shelters is located an ancient site. It covers an area of 80x80 meters and standing at the height of 4 meters from the surrounding agricultural fields. Surface of the site is littered with potsherds of grey ware, red polished and painted pottery with geometric and floral designs. One of the potsherds collected from the site depicts a leave motif. Similar designs can be found on the pottery discovered from the Kot Diji in Sindh. Apart from painted pottery, pieces of polished pottery were also found. The presence of black pottery at the site was also noticed. Fragments of oil lamp were also collected from the site. Pieces of iron objects were also found from the site. Prof. Dr. Asraf Khan believes that last occupation of the site belongs to the second half of 2nd millennium B.C. The site is in well preserved condition and suitable for archaeological excavation. He said that if it is excavated the early levels of the site will reveal prehistoric periods corresponding to the Serai Khola and Jhang Bahter sites situated in Taxila valley which yielded Kot Dijian Cultural material.

The writer is a PhD scholar at the TIAC Quaid-i-Azam University He may be contacted at zulfi04@hotmail.com