Saturday, 30 November 2013

Ancient civilisations: Archaeologists provide glimpse into relics of Sindh’s bygone era

More than 400 stone-tool workshops have been discovered at hills of Khairpur, says official. PHOTO: BENTFORMS.COM
KARACHI: Archaeologists believe the history of the region, including Sindh, dates back to 2.5 million years. The experts say stone age sites are spread all over Sindh, from the hills of Kirthar to the deserts of Thar, from the Indus Delta down towards Karachi and linking Balochistan.
The director of the State Bank’s department of museum and archaeology, Dr Asma Ibrahim, and the chairperson of the management board for Antiquities Physical Heritage of Sindh, Dr Kalimullah Lashari, were discussing the history at a seminar on ‘Archaeology of Sindh: Tracing Two Million Years’.
Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology’s Sindh Abhyas Academy in collaboration with the culture department at National Museum of Pakistan had organised the seminar at National Museum of Pakistan on Tuesday.
Dr Ibrahim spoke about the 2.5 million prehistoric period of Sindh. While giving a brief introduction through a presentation on the archaeology of Sindh, she said that more than 400 stone-tool workshops have been discovered at the hills of Khairpur and Sukkur. “This shows the amount of tools used by our ancestors,” said Dr Ibrahim, adding that it might have been a huge factory catering to other areas as well.
After the Indus Valley Civilization lost its glory, other civilisations came to the area, such as the Gandhara Grave Culture, Mauryas, Greeks, Scythians, Parthians, Kushans, Sassanians and Hindu Shahis, and the coexistence of these civilisations and the adaptation of their cultures continued.
Dr Ibrahim was of the view that archaeology covers all aspects of human existence from birth till death. “Archaeology is all around you. You can’t skip it.” She shared pictures of Indus valley jewellery, pottery, antiques, clothing and coins, allowing the audience to draw comparisons between modern and old-fashioned social developments.
Dr Lashari said that historical materials (coins) and records (manuscripts) may help identify and disclose historical facts. During his presentation, he spoke of the time of some great leaders, such as Ashoka and Alexander, the caste system, such as Buddhism and Jainism, the arrival of Arabs and folk tales of Sassi Punnu, Umar Marvi etc. “These things give us more insight into the history.”
The director of the National Museum in Karachi, Muhammad Shah Bukhari, discussed the importance of manuscripts in history.
The National Museum of Pakistan is one of the biggest repositories of manuscripts in the world, said Bukhari, as its collections comprise rare manuscripts. He also discussed different types of manuscripts, styles of calligraphy, calligraphic scripts and katibs/khatats from different areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2013.

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