Excavation starts at Banbhor archeological site

Thatta: A team of archeologists led by foreign experts has started excavation at the historical site of Banbhor, near Gharo Creek some 40 kilometers from Karachi.

The 12-member international experts’ team led by French and Italian archeological is busy in the second phase of excavation at Banbhore, a world heritage. They have discovered some pieces of a human skeleton, besides old articles include jewelry and household pots from the site. These articles would be sent for laboratory test, says Sarfaraz Soomro, the archeologist of the Department of Archaeology and Museum.

Banbhore is an ancient city dating to the 1st century BC. Its ruins lie on the N-5 National Highway, east of Karachi. It dates back to the Scytho-Parthian era and was later controlled by Muslims from 8th to 13th century after which it was abandoned.

Remains of one of the earliest known mosques in the region dating back to 727 AD are still preserved in the city. In 2004, Department of Archaeology and Museums Pakistan submitted the site for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Archaeological findings show that the city consisted of an enclosed area surrounded by a stone and mud wall. The citadel was divided into eastern and western sections by a fortified stone wall in the center. The eastern part contains ruins of a mosque with an inscription dating to 727 AD, sixteen years after the conquest of Sindh, indicating the best preserved example of the earliest mosques in the region.

The remains of the mosque were discovered in 1960.Remains of houses, streets, and other buildings have been found both within and outside the citadel. Contemporary stone buildings from the three periods are also uncovered in the area including a palatial stone building with semi-circular shape, a Shiva temple from the Hindu period, and a mosque. Three gateways to the citadel were also uncovered during excavations.

This city in past was a also great trade center. Ancient port city of Debal near Bhanbhore was a focal point of maritime trade at the time, with trade taking place with China, Indonesia, India, Iran, Iraq and the eastern coasts of Africa.

Earlier, archeologists had started excavation of the upper layer of these ruins in the year 1954 and later the work was abandoned unfinished, said Sarfaraz Soomro, adding the excavation of the lower layers of the ruins would unearth many historical articles that may shed light on the history and culture of this ancient city.

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