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Bolan Pass and Mehr Garh

Mehrgarh: The archaeological site of Mehrgarh consists of a number of low archaeological mounds in the Kachi plain, close to the mouth of the Bolan Pass. Located next to the west bank of the Bolan River, they are some 30 kilometres from the town of Sibi. Covering an area of some 250 hectares, most of the archaeological deposits are buried deep beneath accumulations of alluvium although in other areas ‘in situ’ structures can be seen eroding on the surface. Currently exposed excavated remains at the site comprise a complex of large compartmental mud-brick structures. Built of hand-formed plano-convex mud bricks, the function of these sub-divided units is still uncertain but it is thought that many were for storage rather than residential. Mounds, MR3 & MR1 also contain formal cemeteries, parts of which have been excavated.

The archaeological sequence at the site of Mehrgarh is over 11 metres deep, spanning the period between the seventh and third millennium BC. The site represents a classic archaeological tell site, that is an artificial mound created by generations of superimposed mudbrick structures. Its excavators have proposed the following chronology:

IA   Aceramic Neolithlic   c.6500-6000 BC   Mound MR3
IB   Ceramic Neolithic   c.6000-5500 BC   Mound MR3
II   –   c.5500-4500 BC   Mound MR4
III   Early Chalcolithic   c.4500-3500 BC   Mound MR2
IV-VII   Chalcolithic   c.3500-2500 BC   Mound MR1

The earliest Neolithic evidence for occupation at the site has been identified at mound MR3, but during the Neolithic-Chalcolithic period the focus shifted to mound MR4. The focus continued to shift between localities at the site but by 2600 BC it had relocated at the site of Naushero, some six kilometres to the south. During this period the settlement was transformed from a cluster of small mudbrick storage units with evidence of the on going domestication of cattle and barley to a substantial Bronze Age village at the centre of its own distinctive craft zone. The absence of early residential structures has been interpreted by some as further evidence of the site’s early occupation by mobile or transhumant groups5 possible travelling through the nearby pass seasonally. Although Mehrgarh was abandoned by the time of the emergence of the literate urbanised phase of the Indus Civilisation, its development illustrates the development of the civilisation’s subsistence patterns as well as its craft and trade specialisation. Following its abandonment it was covered by alluvial selts until it was exposed following a flash flood in the 1970s. The French Archaeological Mission to Pakistan excavated the site for thirteen years between 1974 and 1986, and they resumed their work in 1996. The most recent trenches have astonishingly well preserved remains of mud brick structures.

Bolan Pass: The Bolan Pass, at an elevation of 1.793m (5,884ft) above the sea level is a high mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan border. It’s important to be prepared on this road. At a distance of 120 km from the border of Afghanistan, Bolan Pass is a mountain pass in Balochistan Province of Pakistan which connects the Jacobabad and Sibbi to the Quetta city. Check weather forecasts before leaving home, and remember that it becomes cooler and often more prone to storms at higher elevations.
The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. The Bolan Pass is only open at this time for locals and aid workers and it’s an alternative to the Khyber Pass further north. This area is definitely not safe. You should get an armed guard with you.
Bolan Pass has a significant history background being a mountain pass, which connects the Central Asia and South Asia. Along Bolan Pass where the road winds through picturesque mountains one is reminded of the huge odds that the armies from Central Asia and the South must have faced in their raids on the plains of the present day Pakistan.

Sibi: Sibi is located at the distance of 163kms from Quetta. The town has great historical importance. It has witnessed the names of conquers and kings like Alexander, Mehmood Ghaznavi and Nasir Uddin Kabacha. The British build a residency and Victoria Memo. Rial Hall here, now known as Jirga Hall. The hall is converted into museum having archaeological pieces found at Mehrgarh.

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