The built heritage of Pakistan symbolizes our past glory and it is an integral part of our sense of identity. It may not only serves as a source of inspiration but also heightens the national pride with consequential effect of providing incentives for fulfilling our future inspirations. Archaeology often provides the only means to learn of the existence and behaviors of people of the past.
The history of archaeology has been one of increasing professionalization, and the use of an increasing range of techniques, to obtain as much data on the cultural heritage as possible. Excavations of ancient sites monuments and the collection of antiquities have been taking place for hundreds of years, but these were mostly for the extraction of valuable or aesthetically pleasing artifacts.
The province of Punjab is rich in archaeology where a complete cultural profile from the early Stone Age to the Islamic period has been established which is highlighted by archaeological sites, historical monuments, ethnic traditions and folklores.
Before establishment of Directorate General of Archaeology Punjab the onus of maintenance of entire cultural wealth of Pakistan was on Federal Department of Archaeology & Museums.
After having realized that the only Federal Department of Archaeology & Museums cannot alone protect and preserve cultural assets of the country, it was decided by Federal Government to involve provinces by establishing their own Archaeology Departments for the Purpose. Punjab Government took a lead and established its own Directorate of Archaeology on December 1, 1987 under the Information, Culture and Youth affairs Department. Previously a small conservation cell was working in Auqaf Department since 1971. In October 2011 Directorate General of Archaeology was attached new department, “Youth Affairs, Archaeology, Sports and Tourism. “Punjab Special Premised Preservation Ordinance 1985” was the legislative support and mandate of this Directorate. There are 256 historical monuments protected under the said ordinance.
In August 2004, Federal Government transferred Lahore Fort and Shalamar Gardens, the World heritage monuments to Punjab Government, and this step brought the Directorate General of Archaeology, Punjab to limelight but on the other hand its responsibilities were increased. In April 2011, after 18th constitutional amendment Federal Government again transferred 149 monuments and sites protected under Antiquity act 1975, to Directorate General of Archaeology, Government of the Punjab. Some important monuments transferred are Taxila museum and remains, Rohtas Fort, Jahangir,s Tomb Harappa Museum & Remains, Hiran Minar etc.
After devolution of historical monuments to Punjab Government, it is now the responsibility of the Directorate General of Archaeology to conduct research on these monuments & sites and to conserve and preserve them in accordance with the International charters concerning preservation of heritage to augment cultural awareness among general public and promote tourism.
The land of Pakistan has been a melting pot of great ancient civilizations and Punjab is endowed with a diverse heritage profile dating from the early Stone Age to the present era. It is the mission of the Directorate General of Archaeology to preserve and protect the built heritage and archaeological sites for future generations
Vision of the Directorate General of Archaeology is “To protect the built heritage of Pakistan located in Punjab through archaeological explorations, recoveries, documentation, analysis, interpretation, conservation, preservation, restoration and exhibition of material & artifacts”.
- Retention of historical authenticity, aesthetic beauty and cultural value of the built heritage as per international standards.
- Up-gradation of most visited Archaeological sites and monuments by providing missing facilities.
- Preservation of antiquities and establishment of archaeological museums.
- Employment generation through engaging skilled artisans and craftsmen.
- Collaboration with educational institutions for research in archaeology.
- Preservation and development of all historical sites especially the World Heritage Sites.
- Protection and development of the sites on the tentative list of World Heritage e.g. Jahangir’s tomb, Hiran Minar, Noor Jahan’s and Harappa so that their status is upgraded and they are inscribed on the World Heritage list.
Targets and Achievements during 2016-17
- Development schemes of Taxila, Sher Shah Boili Waziabad, Harappa, Tomb of Khalid walid, Khanewal, Sawi Masid, Tomb of Mai Merban Multan, Tomb of Saki Dalail, Vehari, Musa Pak Shaheed Uch, Allam Iqbal Museum, Lahore are targeted to be completed.
- Missing facilities at the most visited sites will be provided through new ADP Schemes.
- Improvement of technical facilities at Central Archaeological Laboratory including conservation of its old building.
- Preparation of documentaries of important & most visited monuments like Shalamar Garden, Rohtas Fort, Hiran Minar, Jehangir Tombs, Harrapa and Taxila etc., and also to develop a well-equipped resource Centre and seminar hall for conducting research and delivering lectures and seminars.
- Preservation and restoration of Taxila, Shalamar Garden, Tomb of Jahangir, Tomb of Noor Jahan, Hiran Minar and Tomb of Bibi Jawindi will be undertaken on priority.