Archaeological sites in Pakistan

Pakistan is home to many archaeological sites dating from Lower Paleolithic period to Mughal empire. The earliest known archaeological findings belong to the Soanian culture from the Soan Valley, near modern-day Islamabad. Soan Valley culture is considered as the best known Palaeolithic culture of Central Asia.[1] Mehrgarh in Balochistan is one of the most important Neolithic sites dating from 7000 BCE to 2000 BCE. The Mehrgarh culture was amongst the first culture in the world to establish agriculture and livestock and live in villages.[2] Mehrgarh civilization lasted for 5000 years till 2000 BCE after which people migrated to other areas, possibly Harappa and Mohenjo-daro.[2] Harappa and Mohenjo-daro are the best known sites from the Indus Valley civilization (c 2500 - 1900 BCE).[3]

Archaeological ruins at Mohenjo-daro, Sindh, Pakistan

Stone Age

Lower Paleolithic (Pre-Soanian)

Soan near Adiala
View of Soan valley and Soan River in background, near Adiala

Pre-Soanian culture in Pakistan corresponds to Oldowan culture dating back to the Mindel glaciation. Some findings in Punjab belong to this period.[4]

Lower to Middle Paleolithic (Soanian)

Early Soanian sites correspond to the Acheulean period. Different stone artifacts have been discovered from these sites from all over Pakistan.[4] Sites in Soan Valley and Potohar Plateau from this period include;[5]


Mehrgarh (c. 7000 BCE - 2000 BCE), from Neolithic age, in Balochistan is one of the earliest sites with evidence of agriculture and village structure.[2]

Pre Harappa

Pre-Harappan farming communities date back to Neolithic time which ultimately evolved into urban Harappan civilization.[6][7] Explorations and archaeological findings establish the dateline of Pre-Harappan culture from 2700 BC to 2100 BC followed by Harappan period from 2100 BC onwards.[8] Some of the regions showing pre-Harappan culture include;

Bronze age

A large well and bathing platforms from Harappa occupation, Punjab, Pakistan
Early Harappan
Indus Valley civilization

Iron age

Dharmarajika stupa,Taxila
Dharmarajika stupa at Taxila ruins

Middle age

Classical age

Late medieval age

Islamic era

Islamic influence in the region started as early as 7th Century.

See also


  1. ^ Masson, V. M. (1999). "Lower Palaeolithic cultures". The History of Civilizations of Central Asia (Vol.1). Motilal Banarsidass. p. 50. ISBN 9788120814073.
  2. ^ a b c West, Barbara A. (2009). "Mehrgarh, Pre-Harappan culture". Encyclopedia of the peoples of Asia and Oceania. New York: Facts On File. p. 519. ISBN 9781438119137.
  3. ^ Possehl, Gregory L. (2002). "Ancient Indian Civilization". The Indus civilization : a contemporary perspective (2. print. ed.). Walnut Creek, Calif.: Altamira Press. p. 1. ISBN 9780759101722. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b Ikawa-Smith, Fumiko (1978). Early Paleolithic in South and East Asia. Walter de Gruyter. p. 89. ISBN 9783110810035. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  5. ^ Parth R. Chauhan. "An Overview of the Siwalik Acheulian & Reconsidering Its Chronological Relationship with the Soanian". Archived from the original on 4 January 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b Sen, Sailendra Nath (1999). Ancient Indian history and civilization (Second ed.). New Delhi: New Age International. p. 27. ISBN 9788122411980. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Gopal, Lallanji (2008). History of agriculture in India : (up to c. 1200 AD) (1. publ. ed.). New Delhi: Concept. p. 791. ISBN 9788180695216. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  8. ^ a b Bhattacharya, B. (2006). Urban development in India : since pre-historic times (2nd rev. ed.). New Delhi: Concept Pub. Co. p. 22. ISBN 9788180692406. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "The Bannu Archaeological Project". Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
Amri culture

Amri culture is attributed to Amri archaeological sites in Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. It flourished in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC. The typesite is Amri, Sindh.

At least 160 settlements attributed to the Amri Culture have been discovered, mainly in Balochistan, but also in lower Sindh. They are often distributed along the terraces of old and active river courses and consist of sites of different size and shape, which are sometimes stratified below settlements of later periods. Among these, that of the Tharro Hills, near the town of Gujo, is one of the most famous of lower Sindh.

Archaeology in Pakistan

Pakistan contains some of the oldest archaeological discoveries of the world. The country is home to many archaeological sites dating from Lower Paleolithic period to Mughal empire. The earliest known archaeological findings belong to the Soanian culture from the Soan Valley, near modern-day Islamabad. Soan Valley culture is considered as the best known Palaeolithic culture of Central Asia.The Mehrgarh culture was amongst the first cultures in the world to establish agriculture and livestock and live in villages. Mehrgarh civilization lasted for 5000 years till 2000 BCE after which people migrated to other areas, possibly Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Harappa and Mohenjo-daro are the best known sites from the Indus Valley civilization (c 2500 - 1900 BCE). The earliest evidence of civilization in Pakistan can be found on the west banks of the Bolan River and the plains of Kachhi at Mehrgarh. Artifacts found in a 1979 excavation by the Pakistan Archaeology department and a team of French archaeologists can be dated back to 7000 BC. They were able to divide the Mehrgarh culture into three categories:

Mehrgarh Period I- 7000 to 5500 BC, was an aceramic settlement with primitive means of agriculture and livestock. They lived in simple mud buildings and buried their dead with many elaborate goods.

Mehrharn Period II- 5500 to 4800 BC, was a ceramic settlement that showed strong evidence of having manufacturing activity such as copper and stone drills and more technological kilns. The amount of riches buried with the dead decreased over time.

Mehrgarn Period III- 4800 to 3500 BC, many similarities to Period II.

Mehrharn Period IV- 2600 to 2000 BC, much of the city was abandoned as the Indus Valley Civilization was being born and its inhabitants migrated there.Twenty miles north of Islamabad the ancient city of Taxila can be found. Taxila, also known as the city of stones, thrived between the years of 518 BC and 600 AD, and in its prime was one of the most flourishing civilizations between the Indus and Jhelum rivers. Alexander the Great led troops through Taxila in 326 BC and he claimed it as part of his vast kingdom until it was conquered by the Mauryan Empire in 300 BC. After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, Taxila was taken back by followers of Alexander in 190 BC. Taxila owed much of it success to the fact that it was located at the intersection of the three major trade routes of India and Central and Western Asia.Archaeology in Pakistan is conducted under the direction of Department of Archaeology and Museums (DOAM) of Ministry of Heritage and National Integration of Pakistan.

Ghazi Shah Mound

The Ghazi Shah Mound is most ancient archaeological site in Sindh, Pakistan. It was explored by N. G. Majumdar and Louis Flam has also studied and surveyed this ancient site. It is very earliest site of Indus Valley Civilization dates back to 4000 to 6000 years.

Hindu and Buddhist architectural heritage of Pakistan

The Hindu and Buddhist architectural heritage of Pakistan is part of a long history of settlement and civilization in Pakistan. The Indus Valley civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilisation, which extended over much of northern India and Pakistan.

Kafir Kot

Kafir Kot (Urdu: کافرکوٹ‎; Pashto: کافر کوټ; also spelt Kafirkot) are ancient ruins of Hindu temples located in Dera Ismail Khan District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, near the cities of Mianwali and Kundian. Kafir Kot consists of the ruins of 5 temples, and the ruins of a large fort protecting the site. Kafir Kot is often referred to as "Northern Kafir Kot," with the "Southern Kafir Kot" located in the city of Bilot, 35 kilometres to the south.

According to the district Gazetteer of Mianwali of 1915 the remains of Kafirkot (and the nearby ruin of Mari) "are indication of the existence of a Hindu civilization of considerable importance and antiquity". It is located at 32°30'0N 71°19'60E

List of Indus Valley Civilisation sites

As of 2008, over 1000 Indus Valley Civilization sites have been discovered, of which 406 sites are in Pakistan and 616 sites in India, while some sites in Afghanistan are believed to be trading colonies.

List of cultural heritage sites in Azad Kashmir

Azad Kashmir, part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, is an autonomous state of Pakistan. The history of the region dates back to thousands of years. A survey team in 2014 recorded around 100 archaeological sites in the region dating back to Mughal, Sikh, and Dogra rule.Following is an incomplete list of cultural heritage sites in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.

List of cultural heritage sites in Balochistan, Pakistan

According to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency's report published on protected areas in 1997, Balochistan has 27 archaeological sites and monuments protected by the Federal Government. These include the province's only national monument; Ziarat Residency. Additionally it has one site on the tentative world heritage list, Mehrgarh.Of the some 400 sites and monuments protected under the Antiquities Act 1975, the province contains seven sites in Category 1, eight in Category II and fourteen in Category III.

List of cultural heritage sites in Gilgit-Baltistan

Following is the list of cultural heritage sites in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency publication on protected areas, there are only two notified archaeological sites and monuments in Gilgit-Baltistan.

List of cultural heritage sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Following is the list of monuments and archaeological sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. A total 85 sites in the province were under the protection of the Federal Government. The list includes the only completely inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol as well as sites which are part of the World Heritage Sites at Taxila.

List of cultural heritage sites in Sindh

Sindh province of Pakistan is home to nearly 3000 sites and monuments, of which 1600 as protected under the provincial, Sindh Cultural Heritage (Protection) Act 1994 while 1200 remain unprotected.Following is the list of cultural heritage sites in the province. The list also includes the two inscribed, four tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site and four national monuments in Sindh province.Note: If the site is protected under both the federal and provincial governments, it is listed under the former.

Losar Baoli

Losar Baoli (the Losar Stepwell) is situated in the Margalla Hills near Islamabad, Pakistan. Situated near the town of Shah Allah Ditta in the Potohar Plateau, the area was known to be a passageway for caravans and armies moving along the east-west direction.


Mohenjo-daro (; Sindhi: موئن جو دڙو‎, meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men'; Urdu: موئن جو دڑو‎ [muˑənⁱ dʑoˑ d̪əɽoˑ]) is an archaeological site in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2500 BCE, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, and one of the world's earliest major cities, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete, and Norte Chico. Mohenjo-daro was abandoned in the 19th century BCE as the Indus Valley Civilization declined, and the site was not rediscovered until the 1920s. Significant excavation has since been conducted at the site of the city, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The site is currently threatened by erosion and improper restoration.

Pothohar Plateau

The Pothohar Plateau (Punjabi: پوٹھوار, Urdu: سطح مرتفع پوٹھوہار‎; alternatively spelled Potohar or Potwar) is a plateau in north-eastern Pakistan, forming the northern part of Punjab. It borders the western parts of Azad Kashmir and the southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The region was once the home of the ancient Soanian culture, which is evidenced by the discovery of fossils, tools, coins, and remains of ancient archaeological sites.

The major language of the region is Pothwari, while the standard Majhi dialect of Punjabi and Hindko are also spoken. Other dialects include Dhani diaelect, Shahpuri and Chacchi.Potohar is home to many different clans including Gujjars, Jatts, Mohyals, Qazi, Khatris, Abbasi, Awans, Bhatti Rajputs, Hanjra Rajput, Janjua Rajputs, Thathals Rajputs, Satti Rajputs, Mangral Rajput, Tarkhans, Gakhar clans, Sudhans, Sikhs,Pakhral Rajput, Chouhan Rajput and many others

Riwat Site 55

Riwat Site 55 is an Upper Palaeolithic archaeological site in the Soan Valley, near the village of Rawat in Punjab, Pakistan. It is approximately 45,000 years old.


Sirkap (Urdu and Punjabi: سرکپ) is the name of an archaeological site on the bank opposite to the city of Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan.

The city of Sirkap was built by the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius after he invaded ancient India around 180 BC. Demetrius founded in the northern and northwestern modern Pakistan an Indo-Greek kingdom that was to last until around 10 BC. Sirkap is also said to have been rebuilt by king Menander I.

The excavation of the old city was carried out under the supervision of Sir John Marshall by Hergrew from 1912–1930. In 1944 and 1945 further parts were excavated by Mortimer Wheeler and his colleagues.


Sirsukh (Urdu: سر سکھ‎) is an ancient city that forms part of the ruins at Taxila, near the modern day city of Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan.


Takht-i-Bahi (Urdu: تختِ باہی‎; "Throne of the water spring"), commonly mispronounced as Takht-i-Bhai (Urdu: تخت بھائی‎; "Brother's throne"), is an Indo-Parthian archaeological site of an ancient Buddhist monastery in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The site is considered among the most imposing relics of Buddhism in all of Gandhara, and has been "exceptionally well-preserved."The Buddhist monastery was founded in the 1st century CE, and was in use until the 7th century. The complex is regarded by archaeologists as being particularly representative of the architecture of Buddhist monastic centers from its era. Takht-i-Bahi was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.


Taxila (from Pāli: Takkasilā, Sanskrit: तक्षशिला, IAST: Takṣaśilā, meaning "City of Cut Stone" or "Takṣa Rock") is an important archaeological site of the ancient Indian subcontinent, located in the city of Taxila in Punjab, Pakistan. It lies about 32 km (20 mi) north-west of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, just off the famous Grand Trunk Road.

Ancient Taxila was situated at the pivotal junction of the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. The origin of Taxila as a city goes back to c. 1000 BCE. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, followed successively by Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, and Kushan Empire periods.

Owing to its strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries, with many empires vying for its control. When the great ancient trade routes connecting these regions ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was finally destroyed by the nomadic Hunas in the 5th century. The renowned archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham rediscovered the ruins of Taxila in the mid-19th century. In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2006 it was ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian newspaper.By some accounts, the University of Ancient Taxila was considered to be one of the earliest (or the earliest) universities in the world. Others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, in that the teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, and there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Taxila, in contrast to the later Nalanda university in eastern India.In a 2010 report, Global Heritage Fund identified Taxila as one of 12 worldwide sites most "On the Verge" of irreparable loss and damage, citing insufficient management, development pressure, looting, and war and conflict as primary threats. However, significant preservation efforts have been carried out since then by the government which have resulted in the site being declared as "well-preserved" by different international publications. Because of the extensive preservation efforts and upkeep, the site is a popular tourist spot, attracting up to one million tourists every year.

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