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Three more sites to be put on heritage list

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  • sarfraz hayat
    LAHORE: Three more sites to be put on heritage list By Zulqernain Tahir LAHORE, March 30: Three more archaeological sites in the country - Harappa in Punjab,
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2003
      LAHORE: Three more sites to be put on heritage list

      By Zulqernain Tahir

      LAHORE, March 30: Three more archaeological sites in the country - Harappa
      in Punjab, Mehrgarh in Baluchistan and Rehman Dheri in the NWFP - are being
      put on the Unesco's World Heritage list this year.

      Unesco's Islamabad-based director Ingeborg Berines told Dawn that the
      decision to put these sites on the list would be taken at the World Heritage
      Committee's June meeting in Paris.

      She said that one of the main responsibilities of the committee was to
      provide technical cooperation under the World Heritage Fund for safeguarding
      world heritage in states having insufficient resources.

      Ms Berines said that Unesco was trying to include the other protected
      archaeological sites in Pakistan in the list as well.

      Currently, six archaeological sites in Pakistan are on the list, including
      Moenjodaro, the historic monuments in Thatha, the archaeological remains in
      Taxila, the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bhai, the city remains at Sehri
      Bahlol, Rohtas Fort and the Lahore Fort/Shalamar Bagh. Except Rohtas, all
      these historical sites were put on the WHL in 1981.

      Archaeology Department (North Circle) deputy director Dr Mohammad Arif said
      that the inclusion of more sites in the WHL would help restore these
      monuments and boost tourism in the country.

      Punjab Archaeology officials said that now the government could request
      international assistance for these sites, call for expert missions, provide
      training to its staff and supply the necessary equipment.

      They said that the government could also apply for long-term loans, and in
      special cases, for non-repayable grants. Emergency assistance would also be
      available if a site is severely damaged.

      About 730 archaeological sites in 125 states are on the WHL, including 563
      cultural, 144 natural and 23 mixed properties.

      Spain tops the WHL with 40 archaeological sites whereas Italy, China and
      France have 33, 30 and 29 sites on the list respectively.

      Those countries that have 10 or more archaeological sites on the list are
      Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Sweden,
      the Russian Federation, the US, Germany, Greece, India and the UK.

      HARAPPA: The sites in Harappa are prominent in the countryside on the left
      bank of the old course of Ravi. The Harappa culture dates back to the third
      millennium BC.

      The archaeological sites in Harappa encompass the full chronological extent
      of the Indus Civilization, which flourished in the Punjab's alluvial plains
      from the fourth millennium BC to its final post-urban stages in the second
      millennium BC.

      The first excavation in 1920s showed that there might have been a western
      fortified 'citadel' and an eastern unfortified 'lower town' in Harappa.

      The two striking features of the site are a series of residential mounds on
      the northern and eastern sides and walls surrounding each of those mounds.

      This character challenged all the previous models of city planning of the
      Indus Civilization and suggested that different areas of Harappa were
      established and occupied in different times.

      The adjacent town's buildings, pastoral, agricultural and other activities
      have had an adverse effect on the site. The rain water has also affected the
      exposed structures at the site. The flow of water in heavy rains has caused
      gullies and fissures in the mounds. Natural vegetation and wild growth have
      also added to the degradation.

      MEHRGARH: Mehrgarh is located next to the west bank of the Bolan River some
      30km from Sibi. The archaeological deposits are spread over 250 hectares.

      Mehrgarh contains the earliest evidence of domestication of plants and
      animals in South Asia and the beginning of a sedentary lifestyle. Mehrgarh
      represents the best site for understanding the changing relationship between
      humans, plants and animals. Furthermore, development of food production and
      creation of semi-sedentary settlements in Mehrgarh laid the social base for
      the Indus Civilization.

      The exposed structures and buildings within the excavation trenches have
      been covered with plastic sheets. Only one Chowkidar has been deputed to
      look after the trenches.

      REHMAN DHERI: Rehman Dheri is situated 22km north of DI Khan. It consists of
      a rectangular mound covering some 22 hectares at an elevation of 4.5 metre
      above the surrounding fields.

      Rehman Dheri represents South Asia's oldest and best preserved planned
      settlement. It is significant for understanding the emergence of
      urbanization in the region during the Indus Civilization.

      Rehman Dheri demonstrates cultural links with the region's indigenous
      Neolithic and Chalcolithic developments. By the end of fourth millennium BC,
      Rehman Dheri was one of a number of regional centres that developed into
      formally planned fortified settlements.

      Pastoral and agricultural activities have adversely affected the site.

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