Pakistan Archeology Part II

By | December 18, 2021

Among the finds, apart from the interest in the urban layout and in the organizations that testify to a high standard of living, the ceramics, seals and sculptures are particularly significant. The bright red ceramic features a black decoration of textile inspiration, with stylized and modified naturalistic motifs, outside of rigid geometric recurrences. The seals transform a practical necessity into a precious repertoire of figurative representations of animals, real and fantastic, sometimes also accompanied by human figures. The sculptures are very important for a fresh naturalistic taste, among which we will remember the famous bronze dancer by Mohenjo Daro and a steatite bust of a priest with an intentional physiognomic character. Greater plastic softness can be seen in the limestone head of a character or in the two nude statuettes of Harappā for which the latter, however, is not without question the attribution to the period of the Indus Valley civilization. These pieces are accompanied by a minor clay production including very interesting animal figures and the famous two-wheeled chariot. For Pakistan 2018, please check ethnicityology.com.

The violent end of the centers that document this civilization is usually related to the arrival of the Indo-European populations, at the beginning of the 2nd millennium, which led to a radical change in life forms, starting a historical period of which up to at the moment we do not have sufficient archaeological documentation. It is only with the Achaemenid Empire appearing at the borders of India that we possess some greater data, even if up to now there is no reliable and abundant archaeological documentation to the historical-epigraphic information.

This is why what we can call the most notable archaeological center of the Pakistan, namely Taxila, begins to help us. Excavations, initiated by the British Indian Archaeological Service in 1913, have revealed extensive city development in various locations with valuable documentation from the 6th century BC. C. onwards. Known to the oldest Indian legend, we can imagine the city under Achaemenid rule, or at least influence, in the 6th and 5th centuries. Already several years before Alexander the Great (326) subdued Āmbhi (Omphis) king of Takṣaśilā, the city must have shaken the Achaemenid yoke. However in the 4th century it was a densely populated city. After Alexander’s death and the consequent weakening of his conquests, Taxila entered the empire of Candragupta at the end of the 4th, that empire that with Aśoka facilitated, around the middle of the 3rd century, the spread of Buddhism in the regions of India, from Gandhāra to Ceylon. Then it is conquered by the Bactrian Greeks between the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 2nd century. to. C.; the Indian kings were replaced, with Maues, by the Śaka which lasted until the middle of the 1st century. d. C. It is the moment of the great expansion of the kuṣāṇa Empire which reaches up to the beginning of the 4th century. d. C. and still continues with the Kidara after the Sassanid occupation, until the 6th century, when it is crushed by the invasion of the Ephthalites or White Huns. the Indian kings were replaced, with Maues, by the Śaka which lasted until the middle of the 1st century. d. C. It is the moment of the great expansion of the kuṣāṇa Empire which reaches up to the beginning of the 4th century. d. C. and still continues with the Kidara after the Sassanid occupation, until the 6th century, when it is crushed by the invasion of the Ephthalites or White Huns. the Indian kings were replaced, with Maues, by the Śaka which lasted until the middle of the 1st century. d. C. It is the moment of the great expansion of the kuṣāṇa Empire which reaches up to the beginning of the 4th century. d. C. and still continues with the Kidara after the Sassanid occupation, until the 6th century, when it is crushed by the invasion of the Ephthalites or White Huns.

The oldest level reached in Taxila is the 4th of the Bhir Mound with structures belonging to the end of the 6th century. to. C., in a rather crude and massive technique. This most ancient city must have been surrounded by mud brick walls and has a rather irregular type of plan which can be traced back to an Indo-Arian rather than Achaemenid tradition. The city built in the Sirkap area, which can be traced back to the intervention of the Greco-Bactrians, at the beginning of the 2nd century. to. C., is surrounded by strong stone walls which include, according to a concept that can be traced back to Hellenistic poliorcetics, the hill immediately above.

Pakistan Bhir Mound