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Thứ Tư, tháng 10 19, 2005

No. 0580 (Nhị Ðộ Mai dịch)

The Buddhist sanctuary treasure

By Zulqernain Tahir

left LAHORE, Oct 18: Scores of articles, including a gold coin, of early Kushan period (first century AD) have been discovered during the excavation of a Buddhist sanctuary of Badalpur in Haripur district.

A federal archaeology department’s two-member team, comprising director and deputy director (exploration and excavation branch) Dr Muhammad Arif and M.H. Khattak, respectively, completed the excavation between June and August this year.

The important discoveries include five chhattra (umbrellas) of votive stupas, a big iron pan with one metre dia, 188 copper coins, 128 sealings, a ritual copper pot, a surgical instrument, copper plates, copper pendants, a copper bell, copper strainers, iron objects like nails, clamps, hinges, a saw, door bosses, stands, strips and a number of potteries like storage jars, pots, bowls, terra-cotta oil lamps and a heart shape schist stone lamp.

Besides, the remains of eight monks’ cells (rooms) have been discovered. The walls of the cells still retain mud plasters both on interior and exterior surfaces, which are in a good state of preservation.

Badalpur stupa and monastery is a protected archaeological site and under the administrative control of the department of archaeology and museums. It covers 2.9 acres near Behra village in the open valley of the Haro river, about 10 kilometres north-east of the Taxila Museum and 205 kilometres north-west of Julian village.

The site has a big stupa to the west and monastic complex to the east. The monastery measures 81 metres north-south by 78 metres east-west while the stupa complex measures 71 metres north-south and 60 metres east-west.

The only excavation before this was conducted in 1916-17 by Sir John Marshall. This site was identified by Sir Alexander Cunningham in his report in 1863-64. He had discovered 10 copper coins, 43 sealings and pottery.

According to a book “The Shrines of Gandhara” by W. Zwalf, Kushan, the founder of the Kushan Empire, occupied Bactria in the first century AD. The Kushans remained there for more than a century before they took over Gandhara.

Dr Arif told this reporter that the excavation was conducted to check illegal digging in the area and retrieve whatever had been left in the Taxila valley.

He said the discovery of more archaeological artifacts would help extend the historical site of Badalpur and also develop new site for potential visitors.

“The present excavations were confined to the monastic remains, which had never been excavated before,” he informed.

Dr Arif said excavation had been suspended temporarily owing to lack of funds.

http://www.dawn.com/2005/10/19/nat14.htm