Lahore: Punjab University Department of Archaeology organized a two-day workshop on “Significance of Pottery in Archaeological Studies,” which is a part of the project “SUI VIHAR EXCAVATIONS AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECONNAISSANCE OF SOUTHERN PUNJAB,” at the department here on Monday.
Secretary General Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO (PNCU) Muhammad Ikram was the chief guest and inaugurated the workshop while Chairman Archaeology Department Dr Farzand Masih, Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities Prof Dr Qalib-i-Abid, Dean Faculty of Science Prof Dr Haris Rashid, faculty members and a large number of students were also present on the occasion.
Addressing the ceremony, Secretary General Muhammad Ikram said the Sui-Vihar, which is the unique monument for its architectural style, was subjected to the worst human vandalism and over 700 graves have sealed the monastic establishment with bleak chances of its retrieval.
He said the efforts put by the Chairman Archaeology Department to work out the details of the plan of the Vihara, deserved special appreciation which is the result of strenuous endeavour in the scorching heat of the summer.
Prof Dr Qalib-i-Abid said in spite of the unkind climate conditions of Cholistan, the team explored the Harappan settlements along the old bed of river Hakra. The discovery of the first seal of Indus period from Wattowala, Cholistan and other finds show the perfection of the exploratory work by the team.
The surface collection from the sites in the vicinity of Derawar Fort depicted the early, mature and late phases of Harappan culture. He said it would be in the fitness of things if all the culture material may be properly catalogued, displayed in the teaching museum and be studied by the students prosecuting studies leading to M.Phil degree.
The team also carried out the survey of the mounds around Derawar Fort and also the third metropolis of Indus i.e. Ganwariwala. I admit that I am not the student of archaeology but my official assignments took me in field of cultural development in Pakistan.
I had special liking to know that when the decipherment of the pictographic script of Indus people will see the light of the day and therefore I understand that Ganwariwala which is still intact may reveal any tablet having bilingual or trilingual and pave way to decode the script like the rosetta stone.
There is a provision to organize the workshop/seminars/symposia in the approved project to disseminate the cultural traits to the students and teachers to the institutions working for the promotion of cultural heritage.
Prof Dr Haris Rashid said the archaeology is a scientific discipline consists of a broad range of scientific methods and techniques to study the past human experiences that how people organized themselves and exploited their surroundings. We are also interested to know the food habits, beliefs, customs and the changes of their societies. Therefore, the archaeologists spend their lives solving the mysteries of the lost civilizations.
The pottery which is the index of archaeology is found in abundance, studied by the experts and frame their opinions about the eclipse of the settlement. The surface studies are followed by the excavator’s spade who unravels the marvels of ancient culture.
I feel that the gathering of the students from different universities and museums with avail good opportunity provided to them by the Chairman Archaeology Department to learn more and more about the pottery, its manufacturing techniques, firing and executions of designs by a technician hired for the purpose who has already demonstrated his skill in a number of universities in US.
The participants will be sitting together and exchange views of mutual interest for promotion of cultural heritage. He congratulate Dr. Farzand and his team for organizing the workshop. He said the department has already organized three-day workshop on the “Pre-historic cultures of Pakistan” and International Conference on “Gandhara at the Cross Roads of Civilizations-Art and Architecture”. The proceedings of both the events have been published under the editorship of the Chairman.
The department has also published the research journal “Ancient Punjab” which can be compared to any standard journal of research. He said the department started the MPhil classes and the first batch of students is taking classes and field works.
In his welcome address, Dr Farzand Maish highlighted the importance of the workshop and said that it was hoped that this workshop would provide a basic knowledge of pottery, which was one of the most essential aspects of the archaeological studies and generally considered as a.b.c. of archaeology.
He said this workshop was also the first and rare opportunity exclusively provided to the students of archaeology from various universities and museums to sit together and to develop professional understanding with each other.
The workshop will also provide opportunity to the participants for interaction with each other and to discuss the archaeological developments in different regions of Pakistan. The students from Khairpur University, Peshawar University, Hazara University, Taxila Institute and Lahore Museum will undergo extensive practical training in pottery drawing and pottery making process.
Mr. Farooq a faculty member remarked in his presentation that the pottery is the barometer to gauge the material progress of a civilization which reflects the socio-economic and religion-cultural phases of human evolution of that period.
The study of pottery, its manufacturing techniques, execution of colour scheme and designs extends our understanding of the social, cultural and environmental processes of ceramic production. It clearly indicates the class variation, aesthetic sense and expertise of the people of particular age. Moreover, pottery is one of the most abundant found from any archaeological site and has been studied systematically for over the centuries.
The pottery studies helps to ascertain the dating of sites, study of economic and social structures and illustrates the process of the formation of settlements. The inaugural function will be followed by three academic sessions, where the participants will learn the techniques of drawing and making of pottery.
A technician who has already demonstrated his skill in Universities of USA will give practical demonstration to the participants the process of making pottery on wheel.
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