Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Pakistani Petroglyphs Volume 50 Number 1, January/February 1997
by Ulrich Schendzielorz

[image] Threatened Karakoram rock carving (Ulrich Schendzielorz/Peter Arnold Inc.)

Aproposed dam on the Indus River threatens more than 30,000 rock carvings near the village of Chilas in the Karakoram mountain range of northern Pakistan. The dam would provide electricity to the region but would destroy petroglyphs that a UNESCO team says are of great historical and artistic value. So far researchers have documented images of animals, hunting scenes, life-size human figures, Buddhist shrines, sun-wheels, battle-axes, heraldic symbols of tribes and clans, and Indian, Persian, Chinese, and Hebrew inscriptions. Harald Hauptmann, director of the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul and head of the team responsible for the UNESCO-supported study, dated the shrine carvings stylistically to between the first century B.C. and the eighth century A.D. Uncertain whether the dam will stimulate economic growth, the World Bank has been reluctant to invest in it; Hauptmann says the petroglyphs are doomed if the project proceeds.

© 1997 by the Archaeological Institute of America