Category Archives: PAKISTAN

Archaeologists unearthed a pot of copper coins in first major discovery at Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan, in 93 years

Archaeologists unearthed a pot of copper coins in first major discovery at Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan, in 93 years

Archaeologists unearthed a pot of copper coins in first major discovery at Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan, in 93 years

A pot full of copper coins was discovered from a stupa (a dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine) at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mohenjo Daro during conservation work in Pakistan’s Sindh province.

Mohenjo Daro, or “Mound of the Dead” is an ancient Indus Valley Civilization city that flourished between 2600 and 1900 BCE. The ruins of the huge city of Moenjodaro – built entirely of unbaked brick lie in the Indus Valley. The site was discovered in the 1920s.

The Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro are the best preserved urban settlement in South Asia. The acropolis, set on high embankments, the ramparts, and the lower town, which is laid out according to strict rules, provide evidence of an early system of town planning.

Experts evaluated the discovery of the pot filled with copper coins as the first significant artifact discovery in 5,000-year-old city ruins after 93 years.

Director of Archaeology Mohenjodaro, Dr Syed Shakir Shah, who led the team comprising archaeological conservator Ghulam Shabir Joyo, had confirmed that the staff busy with preservation work had stumbled upon the pot of coins on Wednesday.

Shah said laborers recovered the pot of coins during excavation but buried it again. Later some of them informed the officials of the archives department who then dug them out.

The team continued the work for three hours and safely secured the coins buried in the debris along with the jar wherein they were kept. Officials said the jar of coins weighing about five and a half kilograms was later shifted to the soil testing laboratory at the site.

The pot of coins.

Sheikh Javed Sindhi, who was engaged in research at the site, said that previously, 4,348 copper coins were excavated by R.D. Banerji, Sir John Marshall, and Mackay from 1922 to 1931. These coins belonged to the Kushan Period dating back to the 2 to 5 Century AD, he said. “The present discovery is remarkable after 93 years and its credit goes to the Mohenjodaro team,” he said.

Shakir Shah told journalists later that most probably the coins belonged to the Kushan Period.

“Though we have shifted the coins to the laboratory [for the time being] we will definitely hire experts to confirm the period which could be revealed from the inscriptions on the coins. We have to look for which dynasties of the Kushan Period the coins belong to,” he said.

Rustam Bhutto, in-charge of the soil and water testing laboratory, said the treatment process for separating the amalgamated coins would take at least a month to make the figures and language on coins visible.

Ali Haidar Gadhi, senior conservationist at said that Mr Banerji discovered nearly 2,000 coins, 338 of which were of the period of Kushan ruler Vasudeva-1 with standing royal figure on obverse and Shiva on the reverse and the bulk comprising 1,823 un-inscribed cast copper coins. “Another nine had fire altar on the obverse and a crude figure on reverse,” he said.

Mohenjo Daro.

“Although subsequent investigations suggest a break between the end of the Indus occupation and the Kushan phase, it is unlikely that the site was ever totally abandoned due to its high position and the protection it afforded against floods,” he said.

The Kushans existed from around the 1st century CE to the 3rd century CE and played a significant role in connecting various regions through trade, diplomacy, and cultural exchange.

The first Kushan ruler was Kujula Kadphises, who may be identified with the Yabgu of Guishuang named Qiu Jiuque in Hou Han shu. Numismatic evidence shows that Kujula Kadphises continued to imitate posthumous types of coinage of the last Indo-Greek ruler in central Afghanistan.

Other copper coins issued by Kujula Kadphises copy the royal portrait on the obverse from gold coins of the Roman emperor Augustus (31 BCE – 14 CE). The image of the seated Roman emperor is transformed into a Kushan ruler, who is identified as Kujula Kadphises in Greek and Kharosthi legends. As the Kushans progressed further into northwestern India, Kujula Kadphises adopted the title “Great King, King of Kings” on coins patterned on those of Saka and Parthian rulers.

While evidence from coins and inscriptions at Rabatak and Surkh Kotal clearly shows that the Kushans maintained Iranian religious beliefs and practices, other inscriptions show that Kushan officials under Kaniska and his successors patronized Buddhists. The fire altar on previously discovered coins has Iranian influences.

New York returns nearly 200 looted antiquities to Pakistan

New York returns nearly 200 looted antiquities to Pakistan

New York returns nearly 200 looted antiquities to Pakistan

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has returned 192 looted antiquities with a value of nearly $3.4 million to Pakistan. District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. announced the repatriation in a press release on Thursday.

US museums return trove of looted treasures to Nigeria
The return is the culmination of a years-long investigation into the sale of artifacts looted from countries all over the world.

According to the release, 187 of the items are linked to the Indian American antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor, who stands accused of running a multi-million-dollar trafficking network via his Manhattan gallery, Art of the Past.

The district attorney’s office returned the antiquities during a repatriation ceremony on Thursday at the Pakistan Consulate in New York, according to the release.

“Mehrgarh dolls,” some of the earliest examples of figurines created by humans, were among the artefacts returned to Pakistan.

“These remarkable works of art were ruthlessly removed from their rightful home and trafficked without regard for their immense cultural and spiritual value,” said Ivan J. Arvelo, New York special agent in charge at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Earlier this month, Kapoor was sentenced by an Indian court to 10 years in prison for smuggling offences. He has also been indicted alongside seven co-defendants in the US, where investigators say he helped traffic thousands of treasures stolen from temples, ruins and archaeological sites across Asia.

The Manhattan district attorney’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit has seized more than 2,500 artefacts, worth an estimated $143 million, as part of its investigations into Kapoor.

Speaking to CNN earlier this month, the disgraced dealer’s lawyer said he intends to challenge attempts to extradite his client to the US.
According to Consul General Ayesha Ali, Thursday’s repatriation ceremony follows an earlier return of 45 stolen artefacts, linked to another convicted smuggler, to Pakistan.

Dozens of artefacts seized from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
“We began this journey with the DA’s Office and (the Department of Homeland Security) in November 2020, 45 pieces of stolen Gandhara artefacts were returned and today we are very fortunate that another batch of 192 antiquities valued at $3.4 million is being returned,” Ali said in the release.

The objects returned on Thursday include “Mehrgarh dolls,” which are some of the oldest known human-crafted figurines in the world. The ancient statues were looted from a Neolithic archaeological site in Pakistan, according to the release.

Record rains in Pakistan damage Mohenjo Daro archaeological site

Record rains in Pakistan damage Mohenjo Daro archaeological site

The devastating floods in Pakistan have caused significant damage to Mohenjo Daro, a famous 4,500-year-old archaeological site in the southeastern Sindh province which UNESCO has declared a World Heritage site.

The area in Sindh’s Larkana district received more than 1,400mm of rain in the second week of August, damaging the protective outer covering on the historic structures, Abdul Fatah Shaikh, the director of archaeology and museum for the provincial government, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

That amount of rain, Shaikh said, has not been recorded on the 250 hectares (650 acres) since the ruins were discovered 100 years ago in 1922.

“The original structure is safe by and large, including the stupa at the site. However, the protective layer, also called mud slurry, that we deployed suffered a lot of damage, causing exposure of the original walls,” Shaikh said over the telephone from Karachi city. Shaikh said the damage was caused mainly due to heavy rains and that there was no flooding, but added that urgent remedial work is required.

Record rains in Pakistan damage Mohenjo Daro archaeological site

“The original structure is now exposed to the vagaries of nature and if immediate conservation work is not started, it can cause irreparable damage,” he warned.

Mohenjo Daro (‘Mound of the Dead’ in Sindhi language) – considered the best preserved urban settlement in South Asia – is situated on the bank of the Indus River, with Larkana being the nearest major city 30km (18 miles) away.

The ruins were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.

Repair work underway

Shaikh rejected media reports that claimed the site could be removed from the heritage list after the rains damaged it, saying there was no such immediate risk.

“If a site is not conserved or protected properly, they are given suggestions to improve. If the (UNESCO) committee is not satisfied, a warning is issued to the host country. Often, these warnings are repeated for multiple years before a site is moved to a ‘danger list,” Shaikh said.

He said there are currently 52 World Heritage sites across the globe on the danger list, but none of them is in Pakistan.

“But this does not mean that we become complacent and fall asleep,” Shaikh said, adding that dozens of workers have begun the repair work.

Repair work being carried out at Mohenjo Daro [Courtesy of Sindh government, Pakistan]

“Many parts of the site are now exposed to nature and we must work extremely hard and very urgently for conservation within the next six months. It cannot be ruled out that if we fail to deliver, the site could be added to the danger list,” he added. Mohenjo Daro, one of the prominent cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation, is known for its elaborate drainage and water management systems. This, Shaikh said, played a role in ensuring there was very little standing water as floods hit the region.

“The city of Larkana had four feet of standing water whereas, at Mohenjo Daro, there was less than a foot of it. It proved that the original drainage system worked even 5,000 years after it was built,” he said.

Record rains in Pakistan damage Mohenjo Daro archaeological site
The rains now threaten the famed archaeological site dating back 4,500 years

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to land in Pakistan later on Thursday “to appeal for the massive support of the international community to the Pakistanis, in this hour of need after the devastating floods that we are witnessing”.

“Today it is Pakistan. Tomorrow it can be anywhere else,” he said before flying, referring to the global threats caused by the climate crisis.

The Pakistani foreign ministry issued a statement on Thursday, confirming the arrival of Guterres.

“The Secretary-General will travel to areas most impacted by the climate catastrophe. He will interact with displaced families and first responders in the field, and oversee UN’s humanitarian response work,” the statement said.

Shaikh said the Pakistani government could use the UN chief’s visit to pitch for a global campaign to raise funds for Mohenjo Daro as well.

“We are also going to host a centenary function to celebrate 100 years of discovery of Mohenjo Daro in Paris this November as part of our Save Mohenjo Daro campaign,” he said.

UNESCO said it will help Pakistan in repairing Mohenjo Daro damages

In a news statement shared with Al Jazeera, UNESCO confirmed the agency will be providing $350,000 to Pakistan to “help recover flood-damaged cultural heritage sites” including Mohenjo Daro. Meanwhile, authorities in Pakistan said some cities in Sindh are still in danger of flooding after breaches were made in Manchar Lake, Pakistan’s largest freshwater lake, to save major urban settlements.

Mahesh Kumar, a government engineer in Sindh, told Al Jazeera the cuts in the lake have reduced the water level to below the danger mark. However, the breaches forced the evacuation of at least 100,000 people from the adjoining areas. Overnight, 12 more people died due to the floods, bringing the total death toll to 1,355 since June, 481 of them children, the National Disaster Management Authority said. At its peak, the record floods had submerged one-third of Pakistan.

Officials now fear the spread of water-borne diseases and other ailments in the affected areas as people lack access to clean water or medicines. The UN in a statement last week said up to 73,000 pregnant women are expected to deliver next month. Officials and climate activists say Pakistan is a victim of climate change since it contributes less than one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions but is among the top 10 countries most vulnerable to extreme weather.

Ancient Buddhist Temple Unearthed in Pakistan Is One of The Oldest Ever Discovered

Ancient Buddhist Temple Unearthed in Pakistan Is One of The Oldest Ever Discovered

An ancient temple dating from the early centuries of Buddhism has been unearthed in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan — part of the ancient Gandhara region that was conquered by Alexander the Great and gave rise to the mixing of Buddhist beliefs and Greek art.

Ancient Buddhist Temple Unearthed in Pakistan Is One of The Oldest Ever Discovered
Aerial view of the temple.

Archaeologists think that the temple dates from about the middle of the second century B.C., at a time when Gandhara was ruled by the Indo-Greek kingdom of northern India, and that it was built above an earlier Buddhist temple that may have dated from as early as the third century B.C. 

That means people would have built the older temple within a few hundred years of the death of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhārtha Gautama, who lived in what is now northern India and Nepal between about 563 B.C. and 483 B.C.

The excavated remains of the temple found so far, near the centre of the modern town of Barikot, are over 10 feet (3 meters) tall and consist of a ceremonial platform topped by a cylindrical structure that housed a conical or dome-shaped Buddhist monument called a stupa.

The temple complex, which was built and reconstructed several times, also included a smaller stupa, a cell or room for monks, a staircase, the podium of a monumental pillar or column, vestibule rooms and a public courtyard that looked out onto an ancient road.

Radiocarbon dating will establish precise dates of the structures, but the temple at Barikot is clearly one of the earliest Buddhist monuments ever found in the ancient Gandhara region, Luca Maria Olivieri, an archaeologist at Ca’ the Foscari University of Venice and the International Association for the Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (ISMEO) who led the excavations with Pakistani and Italian colleagues, told Live Science.

Ancient and modern

Italian archaeologists, who have been working in Swat since 1955, began the excavations at Barikot in 1984. 

Their mission had been to preserve the important archaeology of the city by renting vacant land and excavating as much of it as possible, thereby protecting it against urban sprawl and clandestine archaeological excavations that sought to recover artefacts to sell in the foreign antiquary markets, he said.

Until a few years ago, the excavations at Barikot had included the southwestern districts of the city and the acropolis — but not the city centre, where the land rental costs are very high, he said. (The land at the Barikot sites is often privately owned, and renting it under terms that allow the excavations is simpler and less expensive than buying it.) 

But the newly discovered temple was found on land acquired by the provincial archaeological authorities near the centre of the city, which enabled the team to begin excavations there in 2019. Pits made by looters had already suggested something important might be buried there.

“For years, we had been watching what came out of the foundation trenches of modern houses, agricultural excavations and the pits left by clandestine digging,” Olivieri said. “[So] there were hints that there was a large monument there.”

Much of the work of the archaeologists has been to excavate the ancient fortress and another temple at the “acropolis” on the outskirts of Barikot.
Thousands of ancient artefacts have been unearthed in the excavations at Barikot, including the face of a Buddha carved in gray schist.

The temple was located along an ancient road leading to the ancient city’s main Buddhist monument, a 65-foot-wide (20 m) stupa that was revealed by public works a few years ago; it is now the site of an electricity pylon.

In addition to the architectural features of the buried temple, archaeologists have discovered more than 2,000 artefacts at the site, including coins, jewels, seals, pottery pieces, stonework and statues, some of which bear ancient inscriptions that can be used to date them, Olivieri said.

Alexandrian conquest

Barikot is mentioned as “Bazira” or “Beira” in classical sources from the time of Alexander the Great, who conquered the already ancient Gandhara kingdom in 327 B.C. Its name meant “the city of Vajra,” referring to an ancient king mentioned in “The Mahabharata,” a Sanskrit epic poem that is thought to relate events from about the ninth and eighth centuries B.C. 

Alexander was the king of Macedon in Greece, and he led military campaigns east against the Persian Empire from 334 B.C., staging an invasion of northwestern India — his farthest conquest — in 326 B.C. 

Alexander eventually turned back toward Europe at the demand of his homesick troops, but he died at Babylon in 323 B.C., probably from a disease such as malaria but possibly from poisoning. His generals then divided up his territories; the region of Bactria to the north of Gandhara became ruled by kings of Greek descent, while Gandhara for a time reverted to native Indian rule under the Maurya Empire.

Olivieri said Buddhism was already present in Gandhara by the time of Menander I, a descendent of the Greek kings of Bactria, who established the Indo-Greek kingdom in about 165 B.C. and took over the region, but it may have been limited to the region’s elites.

Later, Buddhism became much more widespread, and Swat became a sacred centre for the religion, especially during the Kushan Empire from about A.D. 30 to A.D. 400 when Gandhara became famous for the Greco-Buddhist style that portrayed Buddhist subjects with the techniques of Greek art.

Swat also has a temperate microclimate, which allows two harvests every year — in spring and late summer — so ancient Barikot was an important centre for the management of the region’s agricultural surplus. As a result, Alexander probably used the region as a “breadbasket” to provision his armies before continuing their military campaign south to India, according to a statement from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. 

Olivieri said the Italian archaeological mission had wrapped up its latest season of excavations at Barikot, but the team will return later this year to make further investigations of the site and hopefully reveal more of the ancient temple. 

The oldest Buddhist apsidal temple of the country found in Swat

Oldest Buddhist apsidal temple of country found in Swat

A team of Pakistani and Italian archaeologists have found a 2300-year-old Apsidal temple of the Buddhist period and a treasure in the Bazira city of Barikot tehsil, Swat district in Pakistan.

The location of these artefacts is in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Know more about the discovery below. 

Take a look at the helicopter view of the site found

A senior official said, “The Pakistani and Italian archaeologists during joint excavations at a historic site have discovered over 2,300 years old Apsidal temple of the Buddhist period in north-west Pakistan besides recovering other precious artefacts.

Oldest Buddhist apsidal temple of country found in Swat

The temple discovered in Swat is even older than the Temples discovered in Taxila remains of Pakistan.”

Professor Luca said, “This is an astonishingly important discovery as it attests to a new architectural shape of Buddhist structure in Gandhara.

We only have one other example of the apsidal temple in a city at Sirkap, Taxila. However, the apsidal temple of Bazira is so far the earliest example of this architecture in Pakistan.” 

As per the archaeologists, the temple is almost 2300 years old and along with that 2700 other Buddhist period coins, rings, pots and other artefacts worth millions have been recovered. 

An interesting discovery is of something written in the Kharosthi language of the King of Greece, Menander

What is the Inference derived from the discovery?

The head of the Italian archaeological mission in Pakistan Dr Luca Maria Oliver informed that this discovery of the Temple of the Buddhist period is approving of the fact that Swat is home to the oldest archaeological remains than Taxila.

There are many more recoveries expected from this zone of Brazira city. Dr Abdus Samad, the director of museum and archaeology, said, “Bazira city in Barikot Swat is older than Taxila remains too.”

The discovery also proves that Swat had been a sacred place for six to seven religions.

Dr Samad has informed the media that there were 14 archaeological sites under section 4 where the excavation process was carried out.

The Italian ambassador to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese informed the media, “The Italian archaeological mission in collaboration with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa archaeological department has been protecting and excavating archaeological sites for the last seventy years in Pakistan.”

The site was discovered by archaeologists of Ca’ Foscari University and the Italian Archaeological Mission in collaboration with the provincial department of archaeology and museums.

As per Prof Luca M Olivieri who is the director of Italian Mission, “it is possible to date the foundation of the Buddhist sacred structure to the Mauryan period, certainly to the 3rd century BC.”

Mehrgarh and the dawn of Civilisation (8000 BCE -2500 BCE)

Mehrgarh and the dawn of Civilisation (8000 BCE -2500 BCE)

The excavations carried out at Mehrgarh have proved that the site represents a highly developed civilization that existed there until around 8,000 years ago, according to a French archaeologist.

The renowned archaeology scientist and Director of the Musee Guimet, Paris, Jean Francois Jarrige were delivering a lecture, organized by the French consulate general, on Mehrgarh at the Alliance Francaise.

Mr Jarrige, whose well-researched lecture was punctuated with slides, has carried out extensive archaeological explorations and investigations under the French Archaeological Mission in the Karachi area.

The mission has been doing exploratory work in Balochistan for nearly three-and-a-half decades. He said that Mehrgarh and its associated sites provided irrevocable evidence of considerable cultural development in early antiquity as far back as 8,000 years.

Ruins of houses at Mehrgarh

Most of the ruins at Mehrgarh are buried under alluvium deposits, though some structures could be seen eroding on the surface. Currently, the excavated remains at the site comprise a complex of large compartmental mud-brick structures.

The function of these subdivided units, built of hand-formed plano-convex mud bricks, is still not clear but it is thought that many were used probably for storage, rather than residential, purposes. A couple of mounds also contain formal cemeteries, parts of which have been excavated.

Although Mehrgarh was abandoned by the time of the emergence of the literate urbanized phase of the Indus civilization around Moenjodaro, Harappa, etc., its development illustrates the development of the civilization’s subsistence patterns, as well as its craft and trade.

Mr Jarrige said that many beautiful ceramics had been found at the site in Balochistan and were believed to be of the era as early as the eighth millennium BC. The French archaeologist said that studies suggested that the findings at Mehrgarh linked this area to the Indus civilization.

There are indications that bones were used in making tools for farming, textile, and there is also evidence of the use of cotton even in that period. Mr Jarrige pointed out that the skeletons found at the site indicated that the height of people of that era was larger than that of the later period.

He said that the architecture at that time was well developed. Rice was the staple food for those people and there were also indications of trade activities.

The French expert spoke of the difficulties he and his team faced during the exploration work in the area and regretted that some time back, owing to a feud between the two tribes, the Mehrgarh site had been vandalized and the exploratory work had come to a standstill. The work has not yet been resumed fully.

He also expressed his concern over the situation where a large number of antiquities belonging to Mehrgarh and other archaeological sites in Zhob and Loralai were available in the market. He called for efforts towards curbing such business, arguing that these antiquities belonged to the entire humanity, and not just a few individuals.

He, however, made it clear that the objects discovered by his team had fully been accounted for and handed over to the concerned officials. He said he would soon be publishing a book on the discoveries at this site, and hoped that this site would also come well-known like certain other sites in the country.

Earlier, Consul General of France Jean-Yves Berthault said that numerous French archaeologists had been carrying out exploration activities in different parts of the country, particularly Balochistan, for over three decades now and making significant discoveries viz-a-viz the history and heritage of mankind.

A 12,500-year-old sphinx discovered in Pakistan

A 12,500-year-old sphinx discovered in Pakistan

The Balochistan Sphinx, or the Lion of Balochistan, is a rare shape in modern-day Pakistan. The oddly-shaped building, which is located in Lesbela, Pakistan, resembles the famous ancient Egyptian Sphinx in Giza in some details.

As a response, modern historians and writers believe that long-lost cultures flourished before ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, hence this odd Pakistani formation has, therefore, been the subject of debate and discussion.

The odd geological formation in Pakistan was only revealed to the world when, in 2004, the Makran Coastal Highway opened up, and people started transiting near the geological formation. The highway linked Karachi with the port town of Gwadar on the Makran coast.

Despite a complete archaeological survey, the odd Pakistani “Sphinx” is often passed off by experts as a natural formation. Different images from different angles of the geological formation may suggest a certain resemblance to the more famous Egyptian Sphinx; a monument thought to have been carved out of a single, massive limestone block, sometime around 4,500 years ago, during the reign of Khafre, the man who is also credited with building the second-largest pyramid at the Giza plateau.

Photographs of the Balochistan Sphinx—located in the Hingol National Park—cause more confusion than clarity, and some people may find it hard to believe that such a geological formation was indeed carved and shaped by natural forces. For some, the location where the oddly-shaped formation stands may seem as if it were carved sometime in the distant past.

​​Some features of the site reminiscent of architectural features.

A glance at the “Sphinx” appears to show a well-defined jawline, as well as clearly noticeable facial features such as eyes, mouth, and nose. These also seem to be perfectly spaced, as if carved in perfect proportion to one another.

So, wouldn’t this suffice to say that the Balochistan Sphinx was carved by man and not my nature? Not really. We could be seeing something that resembles the Sphinx of Egypt because of Pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon that causes us to see things that aren’t there.

Also, it is impossible to clearly state that something is or is not a monument, or carved by man, by simply looking at what appears to be a rock formation in the middle of nowhere.

Without a proper archaeological survey, we can’t possibly know whether the oddly shaped geological formation was carved by weather erosion or by ancient civilizations.

A 12,500-year-old sphinx discovered in Pakistan
Sphinx of Balochistan

Throughout the years, different opinions defined the odd formation as one of a natural origin, and one of artificial origin. The opinions are divided.

One author, Bibhu Dev Misra, who runs this blog, argues the Balochistan Sphinx is part of a massive architectural complex, and that the Sphinx is clearly surrounded by the remnants of ancient temples carved into the bedrock.

Describing the Sphinx Bibhu Dev Misra explains that: A cursory glance at the impressive sculpture shows the Sphinx to have a well-defined jawline, and clearly discernible facial features such as eyes, nose, and mouth, which are placed in seemingly perfect proportion to each other.

But if it really is a manmade monument, who carved it and when was it carved?

The shape of the Sphinx of Balochistan is very close to the design and proportions of the Egyptian Sphinx.

Oddly enough, just as the ancient Egyptian Sphinx appears to have a headdress—called a Nemes—the Pakistani counterpart seems to have one as well. Of course, this may be just part of pareidolia kicking in, drawing dots between a well-known monument—the ancient Egyptian Sphinx—and a geological formation that resembles the Egyptian monument.

In addition to certain elements around the upper part of the geological formation bearing a resemblance to the Egyptian Sphinx, Bibhu Dev Misra argues that more symmetrical features near the alleged Sphinx are evidence of human activity, and contradict the notion that the site was carved by weather erosion.

The author argues that we can see a clear symmetrical formation of steps and pillars around the Sphinx, which offer further evidence to the idea that the Balochistan Sphinx was carved by man and not by nature.

“The steps appear to be evenly spaced, and of uniform height. The entire site gives the impression of a grand, rock-cut, architectural complex,” the researcher writes.

As for its age, it impossible to know. The age of 12,000 years has been thrown around by various blogs and authors. However, since we can’t know whether this is really Sphinx or not, it is impossible to suggest an age for the alleged Sphinx.

Without extensive archaeological fieldwork and archaeological excavations, we can’t possibly know whether the site of the Balochistan Sphinx was carved by a long-lost, forgotten civilization—as some authors think—or if it is just another site on Earth where weather erosion and geology carved a curious formation.

1,300-Year-old Hindu temple discovered in Northwest Pakistan

1,300-Year-old Hindu temple discovered in Northwest Pakistan

1300-year-old Hindu Temple of Lord Vishnu was discovered in Swat district of Pakistan. It is the first temple of Gandhara civilisation discovered in Swat district.

It has been discovered by Pakistani and Italian archaeological experts at a mountain in northwest Pakistan’s Swat district.

According to the reports, the archaeologist excavated a Hindu temple at Barikot Ghundai in Northwest Pakistan. Fazle Khaliq of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Department of Archaeology said that the temple discovered is of God Vishnu.

The discovery was made during an excavation at Barikot Ghundai.(Italian Archaeological Mission to Pakistan )
Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within Vaishnavism, one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism.

The temple is estimated to have been built the Hindus 1,300 years ago during the Hindu Shahi period, the archaeologist said.

The Hindu Shahis of Kabul Shahis, a Hindu dynasty which ruled the Kabul Valley (eastern Afghanistan), Gandhara (modern-day Pakistan), and present-day northwestern India from 850-1026 CE may have built the Hindu temple in the region.

During their excavation, the archaeologists also found traces of cantonment and watchtowers near the temple site.

The archaeologists have also found a water tank near the excavated site, which is believed to be used by the Hindus for bathing before offering their prayers at the temple.

Khaliq further added that Swat district is home to thousand-year-old archaeology sites and the traces of the Hindu Shahi period have been found for the first time in the area. Several Buddhist temples and worship places are also present in the Swat district.

Dr Luka, the head of the Italian archaeological mission, said this was the first temple of the Gandhara civilisation discovered in Swat district.

Only recently, newly discovered Buddha statue in Pakistan was ruined by Islamists

In July 2020, a newly discovered Buddha statue was smashed into pieces by local construction workers and a Muslim cleric on Saturday in Pakistan.

The relic was discovered while digging the foundation for a house in the Pashtun-dominated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Mardan district in Pakistan.

A video of the act showed the construction workers, along with a Muslim cleric, smashing the Buddha statue using a sledgehammer. They were seen walking over and destroying the life-sized Buddha status while expressing their acrimony against Buddhism, which they consider anti-Islam.

According to reports, the statue was destroyed on the order of a local Muslim cleric, who ruled that it is against Islam. ‘Your nikah would cease to exist and you will no more be a believer if the statue isn’t disposed of’, the cleric told the people at the site, who then followed his orders to destroy the priceless relic, which was accidentally discovered in a good condition.

In July 2020, in a similar incident, the ancient Buddhist rock carvings in the Chilas area of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK)’s Gilgit-Baltistan was desecrated by Islamists, who painted Pakistani flag and slogans on the rock-cut art.

According to reports, the incident came to light when the locals of Gilgit-Baltistan posted images on social media platforms. The Islamists had vandalised the rock carvings by writing Islamic slogans on the rock-art that belonged to 800 AD.