| 5 October 2003
Survey needed to save Pakistan's rock carvings
Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority(Wapda) is reluctant to provide funds to the Federal Archaeology Department to conduct survey in Chilas, where Bhasha dam is proposed to be constructed, to save ancient rock carvings. Earlier in May, Wapda had given a go-ahead to the archaeology department to conduct a survey of the proposed site so that a comprehensive strategy could be evolved to protect the rock engravings, Buddhist carving and inscriptions. It had also promised to provide funds for the survey. But now it has conveyed to the department that only 19 rock carvings are located at the site and carrying out a survey would be a futile exercise. However, it proposed that an archaeologist should join its team at the site to assess the number of rock carvings.
According to a survey conducted by the archaeologists over two decades ago, around 26,000 rock engravings, Buddhist carvings, petroglyphs and inscriptions are located in Chilas. Federal Archaeology Department Deputy-Director Dr Muhammad Arif said that "A team of experts is required for the job." Without conducting a survey, he said, it would be difficult for Wapda to save all the archives. He said the survey would help ascertain the exact number of important sites in the area. "The number of important rock arts sites is around 10,000," he added. He said wordings (history) from pre-historic times to the age of Buddhist from South Asia to the Central Asia, China, Korea and Japan were chalked in its petroglyphs. The enigmatic petroglyphs were found all along the Karakoram Highway and on both sides of the Indus, he said.
Source: DAWN (27 September 2003)
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