Thursday, June 16, 2011

PAKISTAN WILL LOSE THOUSANDS OF ROCK ART CARVINGS DUE TO THE BUILDING OF A PROPOSED DAM

Pakistan is going to lose one of the most precious rock art carvings in the world due to construction of the Diamer-Basha Dam. The proposed site of the dam hosts at least 30,000 ancient art carvings and inscriptions which may vanish forever due to the construction of this reservoir.

The northern area of Pakistan is a mountainous region which lies between the western Himalayas, the Korakoram in the east and the Hindukush in the west. Here, the junction of the ancient routes made the upper Indus a cradle and crossroads of different civilizations.

Travelers, invaders, merchants, pilgrims and artisans from different ages and cultures used the legendary silk route and its branches to enter in the region. Many of them left their cultural and religious signs on the rocks, boulders and cliffs.

The sun-tanned smooth rocks attracted more visitors and settlers to carve their own signs, symbols, inscriptions and artworks on the same locations. And hence, gradually a rock art archive accumulated in the area and eventually became a wonderland of some 50,000 rock carvings and 5,000 inscriptions from different civilizations ranging from the eighth millennium BC to the coming of Islam (since the 16th century AD) in the region.

The diversity of the rock carvings in the region has turned the area into one of the most important rendezvous of petroglyphs in the world.

In 1884, a Hungarian traveler, Karl Eugen discovered a Buddhist carving in present Baltistan. In 1907, a veteran explorer, Ghulam Muhammad unveiled another Buddhist petroglyph from the Diamer district.

When the 750 km long, Karakorum Highway (the modern Silk Road) inaugurated in 1978, thousands of more engravings came to view which inspires a German scholar, Karl Jettmar to further explore the rock art wealth.

In 1980, Karl Jettmar and Pakistan’s father of archaeology, Ahmed Hassan Dani launched a Pak-German study group to systematically investigate the ancient rock art in the region. See below for full story and the amazing images!

http://tinyurl.com/3td5sjl
[6 images]

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