Save the endangered Lakhyun-jo-Daro, the 5000 year old ancient site

endangered Indus-try to industry
Lakhyun-jo-Daro, the 5000 year old industrial area settlement of Indus period, is now a modern day industrial site
By Yasir Babbar
Courtesy and Thanks: The News
Lakhyun-jo-Daro, a repository of nearly five thousand years of history, is a classic example of governmental neglect: The Archaeology Department has ignored it; the authorities of archaeology department of Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU) Khairpur have not properly documented the rich history of this ancient site; the announcement of a museum at the site made by ex-Chief Minister Sindh Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim in 2006 has not been fulfilled either.

Indus, being one of the most enigmatic civilizations, was a herald of numerous developments in human culture. This was a period of aggregation and establishment of metropolitan centres with pervasive interaction networks through which many commodities moved around and consequently arrived in far-flung corners of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra valley. According to research, 1500 Indus period settlements existed and still many more await the spade and Lakhyun-jo-Daro is one of them. It is located in the Northwestern part of modern city of Sukkur. Advocate Shabir Hussain Khoso, a resident of Khosa, a village near the site, in a private excavation discovered certain articles of archaeological worth and showed them to the archaeology department. He also wrote an article about this site which was published in a local Sindhi magazine about 40 years ago.
The site of Lakhyun-jo-Daro is situated near a village and graveyard named Lakha. The area is in the middle of the city in between the industries; the plots for which were allotted in 1970s. Unfortunately the archaeologists did not survey the area at that time. Now this area is under Sindh Industrial Trade Estate (SITE) Department and is called the industrial area of Sukkur.
In 1981 Maalik Khoso, a student of Archaeology Department, SALU Khairpur had brought some potsherds (pieces of pots) to M. Mukhtiar Kazi, the Chairman of the Department of Archaeology SALU at that time. In 1988 the first archaeological work was carried out jointly with Federal Department of Archaeology and Archaeology Department SALU Khairpur. The first research paper was published by M. Mukhtiar Kazi and Qasid Ali Mallah, which drew the attention of archaeologists worldwide to this site. Since then, Lakhyun-jo-Daro became the focus of scholars and archaeologists.
Unfortunately, the area has received scant attention by officials of Archaeology Department SALU Khairpur and Federal Archaeology Department in the last three years. SITE Department allotted an area of 2 acres for the construction of a factory to the president, Sukkur Chamber of Commerce a few months ago but it was cancelled after a huge struggle. SITE Department then allotted another plot to a local political leader for the same purpose which was also cancelled. After the cancellation of these allotments, the authorities of Archaeology Department did not make further efforts to secure this site.
According to the SALU Khairpur, at least five small-scale excavations in 1988, 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2006 were launched at the site. During 1988, a drain about 259 meters long and almost one meter wide and deep, running east and west, was dug for the disposal of sewage water by the modern factory owners. During this process, cultural deposits were seen but were destroyed by the local workers. Nothing was left at the site except the section wall of the trench.
n 1994, the Archeology Department SALU and the provincial Department of Archaeology and Museums jointly planned a small-scale quarry ((extracting stone or slate) and a total of seven trenches were opened at different parts of the mound. Mud and mud-brick structures, artificially raised platforms and burnt brick structures were exposed along with a huge variety of cultural material.

In 1996, eight trenches were opened where residential features like walls, floors, covered drain, single burnt brick line structures, bathing platforms along with a huge assortment of cultural material was discovered. The evidences of a white paste micro-beads manufacturing workshop, copper implements, copper figurines, semi-precious stone beads, polishers, bone tools, weights of terracotta and banded chert seal and a huge number of terracotta artifacts were discovered. The painted pottery of typical Mature Indus wares, in various decoration styles and shapes, was part of the collection.

In 2000, the excavations resumed and only three trenches were partially excavated, where artifacts including terracotta figurines, toy cart frames, cups, and sling balls were discovered. The pottery with several decorative motifs of Mature Indus period (2600-1900 BC) was part of the cultural repertoire.

The inhabitants of this ancient site had a river port on the Indus and were transporting goods through the Indus highway. Materials like copper and industrial objects like jewellery, statues and other goods were exported to Iraq, Bahrain and other countries.

Dr. Michael Jansen, a German archaeologist, agreed with Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Shar, Chairman of Archaeology Department SALU Khairpur that people of Lakhyon-jo-Daro planned and built Mohenjo-Daro. Dr. Michael Jansen has done a lot of work on Mohenjo-Daro who visited the Lakhyun-jo-Daro recently.

Dr. G. Mustafa Shar, while talking to TNS, told that according to research the area of Lakhyun is about 3×4 Kilometres (12 square kilometres) whereas Mohenjo-Daro is 2×5 km (10 sq kms). So Lakhyon is bigger than Mohenjo-Daro. Dr.Shar added that the findings from this site are several seals of copper and steatite, which bear Indus period language, workshops of semi-precious stone like agate, lapis, carnelian, and turquoise. One of the most important antiquities is the measuring scale which decoded and measured the length of time. The next major discovery is the copper figurine or statue. This human figurine is wearing a modern style trouser and a belly belt.

Dr.Shar claimed that now it is going to be reported to UNESCO as an endangered site. Dr. Michael Jansen has promised this in recent visit to Lakhyun-jo-Daro. The 5000 years old precious city, proved to be an industrial area settlement of Indus period, is a site where another industrial area has been built.

Dr Shar condemned the recent illegal allotments made by SITE officials. “Our own people are damaging the culture for the achievement of temporary monetary benefits. If we could save the site, we will have antiquities for hundreds of museums, and the country will attract tourists and earn huge foreign exchange. We are the caretakers of most civilized period of our past and it is our responsibility to transfer it to the coming generation without damaging it. We must save it. There is also an Antiquity Act 1975 present in our constitution. The law must act against those who have no respect for their ancient civilization and history.”

Ali Hyder Gadehi, an officer of Archaeology Department, said while talking to TNS: “Our department is working to secure ancient sites including Lakhyun and others in Sindh. But there is a huge shortage of staff as well as lack of funds in our department.”
Courtesy and Thanks: The News

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