Sites in recent survey reveal district dates back to 6 BCE.
According to a six-month archaeological survey completed last week, hundreds of new archaeological sites have been registered in Buner by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums.
Archaeologists said Buner held significance in the field of archaeology; excavation and exploration will help unravel much of its history. They stated the survey had documented many untouched areas which would help document Buner’s prehistoric lifestyle and civilisation.
Methodology and results
The survey was completed over a six-month period – all archaeologists from Buner participated. “The survey was conducted in every union council of the district since no work done in the past was properly documented,” Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad said.
Samad who also headed the survey said in almost all union councils archaeological sites were privately owned. He added almost all the sites were situated in far-flung and inaccessible areas.
“Reaching most of the places, located on a mountainous and difficult terrain, was tiring and time-consuming but the results show great promise,” he added.
Before Common Era
Some archaeologists stated Buner dates back to 6 BCE. They believe the district remained under heavy Buddhist influence.
“We cannot pin down its exact history in detail but the sites that have been identified can definitely be traced back to the Hindu-Shahi and prehistoric era,” said Samad.
According to archaeologists working on the survey, a fort-like structure situated on top of the mountains in Gandhao, reveals a great deal about the civilisation. “Even though ‘Gandhao Fort’ has been destroyed over time, the few remaining walls indicate it was a well-planned building – meticulously constructed,” said the director. He added the survey will soon be published with the aim to attract foreign archaeologists to assist in further exploration of the sites. “The future looks promising and hopefully with foreign aid, a proper profile of Buner can be built,” said Samad.
Past and future
Samad also said the most important registered site known to the archaeologists was Ranigat. “Ranigat, literally the Queen’s rock, is situated in Totalai in Buner and will be the next detailed project to be studied and explored,” he added.
According to the archaeologists who conducted the recent survey, a lot of work was done by national and foreign archaeologists in the past, especially on painted and carved rocks, but the sites were either unknown or misreported.
They said previous research needed further, more detailed, study in order to properly analyse the sites and trace the history more accurately.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2015.