Odigram (Pakistan): 3,000-year-old pre-Buddhist era cemetery

Source - http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report_archaeologists-unearth-3000-year-old-pre-buddhist-era-cemetery-in-pakistan-s-swat-region_1764853


Archaeologists discovered the cemetery at Odigram, which is home to ancient graves, pottery and ornaments. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ/EXPRESS


The Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan has discovered an ancient cemetery in Swat, which experts believe was built between 1500 BC to 500 BC.

A total of 23 graves have been excavated at the site that seems to be an ancient cemetery, indicating that they belonged to the pre-Buddhist era.

"In some graves, we found two skeletons, one in a primary position and one in a secondary position. The structures of the graves are also unique. Some have small walls, some have been dug in clay while others are made up of clay benches," The Express Tribune quoted Roberto Micheli, an expert of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, as saying.

According to the experts, the site was home to unique ancient graves, pottery, ornaments made of bronze and copper, spindles and hairpins. Personal ornaments including bronze earrings and spindles made out of ivory were also unearthed from the site, which indicates the type of role woman played back then.

Archaeology Community Tourism (ACT) specialists working on the site said there could have been hundreds of such in Swat.

"What we can understand from the graves is that they were a very powerful civilisation. They were socially well organised and apparently very peaceful because no weapons were found from the site, unlike most civilisations," said Massimo Vidale, a professor of Archaeology at University of Padua.

The professor was of the view that the people of this civilisation had very complex rituals since the excavated graves revealed that one grave contained two bodies placed strategically such that they face each other.

"They might be relatives: Father and son, mother and daughter, brother and sister or wife and husband. This signifies the emphasis they placed on the strong bonds of familial ties," he said.

The ancient remains were discovered at Odigram, which was the capital of Swat during the Hindu Shahi period between the 8th and 10th century. The region was identified as Ora by Aurel Stein, the city where Alexander the Great fought one of his battles.