Bhanbore (Pakistan): Human bones, relics ‘from 10AD’ dug up

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Archaeologists have found new clues to the once-thriving port city of Bhanbhore.

 Palistan 01c

A team of archaeologists have discovered three human skeletons and several artefacts from a site in Bhanbore [Credit: Dost Pakistan]

A team of French, Italian and Pakistani experts excavating at the site, on a three-year agreement with the Sindh culture department, have found two human skeletons and a number of artefacts believed to date back to the 10th century AD.

The artefacts include pieces of pottery, jewellery and silver coins while the human remains were found in graves about five and a half feet deep near a temple site, said Asma Ibrahim, who is part of the excavation team. “The findings will get older as we dig deeper.”

She said the archaeologists began the second round of excavation on January 6 and would continue working till February 13 after which it would be decided where to get the samples tested. “Parts of the remains or artefacts would be sent abroad to France of Italy for forensic tests,” said Ibrahim.

Initially the excavation had been planned for 2013 but was delayed due to unsuitable weather conditions. “The first phase of excavation was carried out in 2012 when we had discovered silver coins, pottery and pieces of jewellery. This is their [team’s] second visit to the archaeological site,” she added.

A preliminary report about the findings would be prepared over the next three months. The team of foreign experts includes Marlo Piacentini, Agnese Fusaro, Noccolo Manassero, Alessandro Tilia, Monique Kervran, Cyril Driard and Hiline David.

Sources privy to the excavation team, however, said the discoveries had been made without any financial support from the Sindh government since the scheme was expunged from the annual development programme by the planning and development department without the consent of the culture and antiquities department. A summary to reverse the decision was sent to the chief minister and has been pending approval since. 

Sharmila Farooqi, the culture department coordinator, told The News that under the agreement signed by the Sindh government, National Research Council France, the University of Milan, Italy, and the University of Rome’s Scientific Laboratories, the culture department was only responsible for providing logistical support to the foreign teams, and all other expenses were to be borne by their respective governments or institutes. She denied the archaeological scheme had been struck off the budget books.

In their last visit to the site in November-December 2012, the archaeologists had found pieces of pottery, jewellery and silver coins. Senior archaeologist Kaleem Lashari, who is also the project coordinator, said the examination of the artefacts had revealed the area was prosperous, saw extensive trade activities and had an extremely good municipal system. 

Human remains had been found in Bhanbore in 1958 also, when 13 skeletons were excavated. They had been put on display in glass cubicles at the museum but were destroyed by unfavourable weather conditions within a few decades.