Three more sites to be put on heritage list
- 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
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
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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