Pakistani archaeologists excavating the Harappan site of Mohenjo Daro have sought help from their Indian counterparts for carrying out conservation works and planning future excavations at the site. The site, in present-day Sindh, Pakistan, was likely the world’s largest settlement between 2600 and 1900 BC.
Vice-Chancellor of Pune’s Deccan College and a leading scholar on Harappan civilization, Vasant Shinde was among the few foreign archaeologists who were recently invited to visit Mohenjo Daro. The meet mainly focused on ways to protect the site. “I was the only Indian invitee to Mohanjo Daro… We deliberated on how to protect the site,” said Shinde.
When efforts by Pakistani archaeologists to carry out initial conservation works at Mohenjo Daro failed, the Pakistani team sought suggestions from India. “They (Pakistani archaeologists) wanted to know, if there was any way in which India could help them carry out conservation activities at the site,” Shinde said.
Earlier, the Pakistani side had collaborated with European and American archaeologists. “But, what we now understand is that the methodology developed by the westerners… did not suit the climatic conditions or help excavate the materials used for construction in this part of the world,” Shinde said, adding that this had led to further damages to the historic site.
India carried out some preliminary works at the site prior to the Partition, he said. “We have realised that we need to work hand-in-hand. The Pakistani side is very keen and we also want that the two countries must come together…because, the remaining half of the Harappan sites lie on the other side of the Indian border and without understanding the entire region, we cannot really get a holistic picture about the civilization,” said Shinde. India has now urged the concerned Pakistani archaeologists to approach their government with a proposal.