New Buddhist site discovered atop Margalla Hills

Islamabad - Discoveries of antiquities at a new Buddhist site `Ban Faqiran’ atop Margalla Hills by Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) would be a valuable addition to the rich cultural heritage of the country.
The department has completed the excavation work of the site and the conservation process would be started soon, said Director General DOAM, Dr Muhammad Arif while talking to APP.
Dr Arif said the project is being executed with a cost of Rs 2 million. The excavation of the fourth heritage site of `Ban Faqiran’, which is around 2000 years old, in capital was the first ever field activity undertaken by the department after the 18th constitutional amendment 2010.
Dr Arif said the antiquities dug out from excavated site would be housed in the museum for conducting research, imparting education, promoting tourism and providing recreation to visitors. The objectives of this project, he said, were to reconstruct the ancient cultural profile, establish antiquities and explore, excavate and preserve potential archaeological sites in the federal Capital.
Besides this, it will reflect soft image of the country when foreign visiting dignitaries or delegates are shown around the heritage sites and the museum, housing the antiquity, he added. The funds for excavation and preservation of this Buddhist site were provided by the National Fund for Cultural Heritage (NFCH) in April 2015 and its excavation commenced in August 2015.
The excavating team under the field directorship of Abdul Ghafoor Lone and site supervisor, Arshad Khan exposed a large stupa- like square structure, measuring 10.26 meter a side, on the top of Margalla Hills.
This structure, he said, is made of lime and kanjur stone, with semi ashlar and diaper masonry dated from the second to the fourth century Common Era (CE). Besides other antiquities, six coins and four iron arrowheads were discovered from the Buddhist site. The heritage site also includes a water tank and mosque of early period.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Board of Governors NFCH and the Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Pervaiz Rashid constituted a Monitory Committee to evaluate the progress of the project.
The committee included Dr M Farooq Swati, member of the board of governors, Suleman Shah, deputy director ministry of information, and Dr M Arif, DG DOAM. They visited the site on December 07, 2015, and expressed their satisfaction on the progress of excavation.
They advised the DoAM to continue the work, extend their probe to the ancient site but now defunct water tank and its nearby religious structure, both situated to the west of the Buddhist site down in the flat area of the gully and to find out their correlation with each other.

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