On Thursday, Department of Archaeology Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has completed first ever archaeological survey in FATA, after the British era. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director Archaeology and Museums Dr Abdul Samad disclosed on Thursday that they discovered 110 sites, three of them 30,000 years old, hoping it would open a new period of tourism and prosperity in the militancy-affected tribal areas.
Political Agent Khyber Khalid Mehmood told reporters that discoveries have been made by archaeological department with the help of Political Administration and Pakistan Army.
Talking to media, Political Agent Khyber, Khalid Mehmood said that survey also revealed eight sites of significant Buddhist importance. The survey has documented 110 archaeological sites of pre-history, Buddhist, Islamic and British era.
The archaeological survey was completed in tehsil Jamrud of Khyber Agency within a period of 75 days.
They began their work from Jamrud subdivision and would extend the archaeological surveys to the adjoining Landikotal and Bara subdivisions and later to the remote and mountainous Tirah valley.
In the next phase, according to the political administration, the study will be extended to other tehsils of Tirrah and Barra.
A variety of relics including images and paintings carved on stones were found in the sites. During excavation, remnant of mosques, forts, gallows, tunnels and other buildings of Ameer Taimur period were also discovered from the sites.
Although the survey has highlighted a number of sites, the political administration and Fata secretariat have no archeologists, funds or any specialized department to work for its preservation, protect it from vandalism and utilize it to attract tourists.
Political Agent Khyber told that surveys were also conducted in these areas during British rule but they failed to achieve any success.
Though deep excavation has not been conducted but they discovered sites with the evidence having historic value of thirty thousand years.
The four member team was led by Dr Abdul Samad. He said, “This is just the beginning as we discovered these sites without any excavation. There could be pre-historic sites and even major cities if an organized excavation was undertaken in Fata.”
It is a major achievement that would help boosting economic and tourism activities in tribal areas. He said that efforts are underway to establish archaeology department in FATA Secretariat.
The Khyber Agency remained the part of ancient Buddhist Gandharian civilization, which flourished in areas that fall in Pakistan and Afghanistan from the mid 1st millennium BCE to the beginning of the 2nd millennium CE.