Archaelogist identifies new Buddhist-era site in Mardan

The International News, Feb 5, 2007

MARDAN, Pakistan -- A local archaeologist, Usman Mardanvi has claimed he has identified a new Buddhist-era site at Bochakan village in Palai area of Mardan district, which has mostly been destroyed by the locals for excavating antiquities.

Usman told The News that Palai village was a remote area on the border of Malakand Agency and Mardan district where not only scattered settlements were found but a large number of caves also exist. He claimed that the site was Buddhist Kushan period but was not on the archaeological record.

Usman claimed that most of the remains were scattered in the mountains while caves were also situated in the same area. He disclosed that all settlements and caves were of the Kushan period. He deplored that locals had badly destroyed them for digging out antiquities. He said locals told him that no statues but coins and damaged pottery were found during the excavation.

He said there were a number of natural caves of which some seven seemed to be residential or worship spots because ruins and hearths were there. He claimed that fire flames had blackened most of the caves while signs of lava were also found in the caves and in the surroundings. Palai is a beautiful area where mountains with green tops exist, he added.