Peshawar University Archaeology Department’s 50th Anniversary

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Peshawar University has announced that The renowned archaeologist and illustrious scholar, the late Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani, founded the Department of Archaeology, University of Peshawar, in 1962, thus taking the lead in introducing Archaeology as a discipline at the University level. Since then, the Department of Archaeology has been engaged in teaching and research activities and has opened new avenues to explore Archaeology and Cultural Heritage of Pakistan in general and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular. During the past 50 Years, the Department has produced graduates who are now serving the country, the nation and the subject in the capacity of various key positions. The Department has also established national and international collaborations. Consequently, the research output of the Department has been increased considerably and marvellous discoveries are being made in the different branches of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage of this part of the country. The results of these endeavours are published regularly in Ancient Pakistan, research journal of the Department, and Gandharan Studies.

To celebrate 50 years of its establishment, an International conference has been organized in November, 2012 (November 13-15, 2012) by the Department of Archaeology on the ‘Latest Archaeological Investigations in Pakistan’ and a Photographic Exhibition highlighting significant contributions that the Department made over the last fifty years of its active life on the Campus. National and international scholars from all over the world participated in the event which was supplemented with a Video/Slide Show showing achievements and activities of the Department conducted during the past 50 years. On this occasion, a book fair was also arranged which remained another main attraction of the participants and the visitors. This mega event was sponsored by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC).

His Excellency, Dr. Hasrul Sani Mujtabar, the Malaysian High Commissioner in Pakistan, who was the Chief Guest on this occasion, inaugurated the conference and the exhibitions. The Vice-Chancellor, University of Peshawar, Prof. Dr. Qibla Ayaz, and Prof. Dr. Farooq Swati, Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities, were also present on this occasion. More than 200 national and international delegates and scholars participated in this conference. In the inaugural ceremony, the Director of the Institute, Prof. Dr. M. Nasim Khan welcomed the Chief-Guest and expressed gratitude to his Excellency for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the inaugural session of the conference and for agreeing to be the Chief-Guest on this occasion. He also welcomed Prof. Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Vice-Chancellor, University of Peshawar, and the distinguished delegates. The Director highlighted the achievements and contributions of the Department and explained the different collaborations that the Department is having with different national and international academic institutions such as the Cambridge University, the British Museum, the University College London, Academy of Science, Austria, etc.

On this occasion, he praised and acknowledged the tremendous work and contributions of his senior and retired professors of archaeology and the technical staff who have come a long way to form the Department as a leading Institution of Archaeology in the country and one of the reputed educational centres in the world. Special shields were prepared and awarded to them in recognition of their meritorious services to the Department. He also highlighted the different prestigious awards received by the faculty of the Department like Royal Asiatic Society Fellowships, British Academy Fellowship, Hirayama Fellowship, Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship, Ancient India and Iran Trust Fellowship, etc. On this occasion, a Keynote lecture was presented by Prof. Dr. Farooq Swati, senior Professor of Archaeology and Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities. He discussed the contributions of the Department and highlighted the achievement made by the Department Since 1962. Prof. Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Vice-Chancellor University of Peshawar, in his remarks, stressed on the importance of archaeology and the rich cultural heritage of the region, particularly that of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He appreciated the contributions of the Department of Archaeology made towards the promotion of archaeology and to the cultural heritage of Pakistan. He also acknowledged the efforts of the faculty of the Department of Archaeology and insisted on the establishment of more such collaborations with national and international institutions and joint academic programmes with the neighbouring as well as Islamic countries, particularly with Malaysia. The Vice Chancellor thanked His Excellency, the High Commissioner of Malaysia, for accepting his request to be the Chief Guest and for his interest in the cultural heritage of the region.

His Excellency, Dr. Hasrul Sani Mujtabar, the Malaysian High Commissioner thanked the Vice Chancellor, the University of Peshawar management and the Director of the Institute for inviting him to inaugurate such an important event.

He congratulated the organizers for holding this important conference and exhibitions. His Excellency pointed out that Pakistan and Malaysia are sharing common cultural heritages, therefore, it was underlined that besides bi-literal relations in trade and commerce the two countries should also develop and further strengthen academic linkages and worked together for the promotion of archaeology of both countries.

o celebrate Golden Jubilee of the Department of Archaeology and to share recent discoveries made in the field of archaeology, national and international delegates from all over the world participated in the conference. The activities continued for three days and concluded on the 15 th of November 2012. The Chief Guest for the concluding session was Prof. Dr. Abdur Rahman and the Guest of Honour was the Secretary Tourism, Syed Jamalud Din Shah. In the concluding session, on behalf of the delegates, Prof. Carlos Calazans from Portugal thanked the organizers for inviting them to participate in the conference. At the end, Prof. Dr. M. Nasim Khan, Director of the Institute expressed his gratitude to the national and international scholars who might have risked uncertain outcomes and discomfort to participate in the conference.

The Director was grateful to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for sponsoring this mega event. He appreciated the help and support received from the HEC officials, particularly Mr. Humayun and Ms Nazneen Bangash. He thanked the Tourism Corporation Peshawar and Mr. Aman ur Rahman, the first friend of the SSAQ Museum, for his generous help. He also expressed his gratitude to the University of Peshawar, particularly to the Vice-Chancellor and the Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities for taking personal interest in the event. The Director thanked those organizations which helped in the success of the event. He showed his appreciations to all his colleagues, particularly Dr. Ibrahim Shah, secretary of the conference and Dr. Gul Rahim, who worked day and night to make this event to a great success.