A joint excavation team of Pakistani and Italian archaeologists have discovered an apsidal temple more than 2,300 years old from the Buddhist period and a few other valuable items in northwest Pakistan, officials said on Saturday.
The find, which was made in the city of Bazira from the Buddhist period in Barikot tehsil of the district of Swat in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been described as the oldest temple in Pakistan from the Buddhist period.
Pakistani and Italian archaeologists during joint excavations at a historic site have uncovered more than 2,300 years of Buddhist period apsidal temple in northwest Pakistan in addition to recovering other valuable artifacts. The temple discovered in Swat is even older than the temples discovered in Taxila, remnants of Pakistan, ” a senior official said.
Besides the temple, archaeologists have recovered over 2,700 other artifacts from the Buddhist period, including coins, rings, jars, and Kharosthi language scriptures from the period of the Greek King Menander.
The head of the Italian archaeological mission in Pakistan, Dr Luca Maria Olivery, said the discovery of the temple from the Buddhist period has proven that Swat is home to the oldest archaeological remains than Taxila.
Italian experts have expressed confidence in the recovery of more archaeological sites during excavations in the historic town of Bazira in the district of Swat.
Dr Abdus Samad, director of the museum and archeology, said the town of Bazira in Barikot Swat is older than Taxila remains.
Doctoral students from the best Italian universities and archaeological departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are engaged in excavations of these sites in the city of Bazira.
The recent discovery of artifacts in the town of Bazira has proven that Swat has been a sacred place for six to seven religions.
Dr Samad revealed that the KP government had purchased fourteen archaeological sites in section four where excavations were underway.
Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese told reporters that archaeological sites in Pakistan are very important to different religions of the world.
The Italian archaeological mission, in collaboration with the archaeological department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been protecting and excavating archaeological sites for seventy years in Pakistan, he said.
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