Saving Pakistan’s lost city of Mohenjo Daro
ISLAMABAD: The centre of a powerful ancient civilisation, Mohenjo Daro was one of the world’s earliest cities.
Archaeologists believe the ruins could unlock the secrets of the Indus Valley people, who flourished around 3,000 BC before mysteriously disappearing.
But they warn, if nothing is done to protect the ruins, it will fade to dust and obscurity.
“Everybody knows Egypt, nobody knows Mohenjo Daro, this has to be changed,” says Dr Michael Jansen, a German researcher working at the sunbaked site.
In summer, temperatures can soar above 46°C.
“There is enormous thermostress,” said Jansen.There remains the threat of destruction by an Islamist group.
Most horrifying, however, is the wanton disregard for Mohenjo Daro by ordinary citizens.
In 2014, police stood atop the main stupa as hundreds of people swarmed the site to, ironically, commemorate Pakistan’s cultural heritage, complete with scaffolding, dancing, fireworks, heavy spotlights and lasers.
Sardar Ali Shah, cultural minister in Sindh province, vowed never to let such a thing happen again.
Yet today, visitors roam the remains with impunity, leaving rubbish in the once pristine-streets and wells.
Jansen and his Friends of Mohenjo Daro society aim to promote the site internationally, with plans to recruit Pakistanis around the world for conferences, seminars and debates.
Dr Kaleem Lashari, chief consultant to the Pakistani government over Mohenjo Daro, said they would also digitally archive the Indus script, which has never been deciphered, in hopes that making it accessible will increase the site’s profile.
At the site, he said, technical reviews were being held to examine water logging and other ways to shore up the ruins, while exploring modern technology that allowed researchers to determine what lies beneath the surface in the portions of the city not yet excavated. AFP
Visitors walking through Mohenjo Daro some 425km north of the Pakistani city of Karachi.