Friday, May 20, 2011

The Diamer Basha Dam and the Rock Carvings of the Indus Valley

This recent article entitled "Threatened Rock Carvings of Pakistan" describes the thousands of rock carvings in northern Pakistan that will be submerged by the planned Diamer Basha Dam project along the Indus River.

The dam has been in planning stages for five years and groundbreaking for the construction is scheduled for this month. While the dam will generate needed electricity and provide flood mitigation and sediment controls, it will also submerge tens of thousands of rock carvings, some of them very ancient.

This website details some of the findings of the joint German and Pakistani research that has been conducted on the carvings since 1978. It provides a gallery of additional images of some of the carvings, in addition to the excellent images in the article above.

These carvings appear to contain solar and astronomical imagery reminiscent of the ancient carvings studied by Martin Brennan from the Boyne River valley area in Ireland and discussed in his excellent book the Stars and the Stones.

Modern historians believe these solar images in the Diamer Basha area are much more recent, although dating rocks and carvings on rocks is notoriously difficult and depends in large part upon assumptions and historical models.

Let us hope that some plan to remove and preserve the thousands of petroglyphs and inscriptions can be put into action before these important records of those who went before us are lost. Due to the sheer number of them, and the size of some of the stones, such a hope may be overly optimistic.