HISTORICAL SITES

Professor Dani of the University of Peshawar coined the term, 'Gandhara Grave Culture' in the early 1960s when he excavated the burial site at Timargarha in Dir District and Thana in Swat. Today, the name is used with reference to the pre- and proto-historic cemetery sites that were explored in the vicinity of ancient Gandhara, the easternmost province of the Persian Empire.
These burial date back to 1800 and 600 B.C, (according to Dani) and belong to the Aryans, these sites significantly unfold the nature of archaeology and change over the years. Indeed, a careful study of things such as the pottery and tools, the grave construction and the burial style point to the changes over time.
One of the rare archeological expeditions in Chitral was conducted in the sixties by the Italian Archaeologist Professor Stacul and British Archaeologists Bridget and Raymond Allchins. It was then that some light was shed on the Burials of Gandhara Grave Culture in the Lower Chitral. To be more precise, in 1969, Professor Stacul discovered that Chitral had some Gandharan Grave sites. Field work, however, has been of an unsatisfactory nature and not much has been published. Additionally, three ceramic vessels from Ayun have been examined by Professor Allchin (1970) with the conclusion that they resemble the pottery found in the Gandharan Graves. Various scholars and travelers too, are positive about the presence of Buddhist monuments in Chitral.
Sites of the same nature were discovered during the 1999 expedition that was a collaborated attempt with the University of Bradford. These came in to notice with the help of local knowledge of structures and graves in the area and field survey. Farmers were a valuable source of detailed local knowledge Moreover, two types of sites were discovered in 2000 with Peter and Azra Meadows. These are
1. Sites of Gandhara Grave Culture (Proto historic Period)
2. Forts and settlement sites of the 17th-19th centuries
In addition to these, there was one Megalithic Burial Site also.
At all these locations, a similar pattern follows in grave construction and the way of burial. Large slabs of stone are used to make a rectangular cist grave). Goods, such as pottery are buried with the deceased and the burials themselves are either interments or cremations. All this suggests that they can be relegated to one cultural group.
With Kelly to ChitralThe grave burials are a significant discovery in the field of archeology, and have fitted into the gap between the decline of Indus Valley Civilization and the arrival of Achaemenian in 600 B.C .the discovery has also ut to doubt some accepted notions, such as the term, 'Gandhara Graves' because at no time was Chitral a part of Ancient Gandhara. An excavation of the site would give us the date of the burials and provide material for the Chitral Museum, which has been approved by the Government of NWFP.


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