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Educating the Public and Enhancing Efforts for Gandhara Heritage

July 18, 2023

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has reached out to archaeologists and academics for assistance in preserving and expanding the Gandhara heritage digs.

The “Takshashila Declaration” was written to save and promote Gandhara heritage, and it has been disseminated to embassies and educational institutions around the globe.

Diplomatic sources who were given access to the draft of the “Takshashila Declaration” stated the move demonstrated a “positive step” in Pakistan’s attitude toward non-Muslim cultural sites.

Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Chairman of PM’s Task Force on Gandhara Tourism, extended an invitation to sign the declaration to specialists from nations with significant experience in excavating and preserving archaeological sites, such as Italy and the United Kingdom.

The Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation is currently employing cutting-edge tools and research to preserve 31 sites in the Gandhara region.

Islamabad-based researcher Yi YunJung explains the fundamentals of artifact preservation: “any material buried for a very long time will react fast to air, moisture, sunlight, pollution, and even air pressure.”

The KCHF has set up a state-of-the-art laboratory in Islamabad and provides training to curators, scholars, and archaeologists from museums around Pakistan on the topic of artifact preservation, including after it has been placed in glass cases.

Ms. YunJung elaborated by saying that the substance of the object and the impurities in it dictated the course of cleaning and treatment.

When asked about the best way to ensure that this priceless treasure is preserved for future generations, Dr. Vankwani indicated that assistance from multiple other nations and educational institutions would be helpful.

Such efforts at a variety of locations will facilitate looting and artifact trafficking by treasure hunters.

Taxila, formerly known by its ancient name Takshashila, was the capital of the Gandhara civilization and a thriving intellectual hub where many great minds of the time received their education.

The proclamation urges “Conserving and preserving the physical remains of the Gandhara heritage.”

To protect the archaeological sites, artifacts, sculptures, and monuments of Gandhara from further deterioration and harm, we pledge to implement stringent measures. ‘We will commit enough resources and implement thorough conservation plans to ensure the long-term preservation of this unique cultural legacy,’ the proclamation continued.

It stressed the importance of protecting archaeological sites, outlawing illicit excavation, and regulating the trading and export of Gandhara artifacts through the implementation of strict laws and regulations.

The declaration also acknowledged the need to educate the general public about the significance of Gandhara’s heritage and expressed a commitment to creating educational programs, public campaigns, and outreach initiatives that do so.

The goal is to improve conservation efforts, research, and public access to Gandhara sites through the acquisition of cutting-edge technology and innovation in the protection and documentation of the Gandhara legacy, such as remote sensing, 3D imaging, and data management.

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