Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Protecting Buddhist Carvings in Pakistan

Monday, October 28, 2013

buddha-swat-valleyMINGORA, PAKISTAN—Rock carvings of Buddhist iconography dating from 1,000 to 2,000 years ago in Pakistan's Swat Valley are under threat from neglect, say archaeologists. The reliefs are from the Gandhara civilization, a culture that was important in the spread of Buddhism in the area and which flourished from the A.D. first to 11th centuries in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. The spectacular carvings are fading due to weather, though vandals in the area have defaced them in various ways, including urinating on the pieces. "We will soon devise a proper mechanism for the protection of all the archaeological sites of the Gandhara civilization in consultation with the archaeological experts and local culture activists," Mahmood Khan, the regions's minister for sports, tourism and archaeology told the UPI.