ASI begins restoration of Burzahom archeological site, first time since its excavation in 1930s

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For the first time since its excavation in the 1930s, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has started restoration work of the Neolithic archeological site of Burzahom in Srinagar outskirts. The site which is known to be the first Neolithic site to be discovered in Kashmir dates back to 3000 to 1000 BC.

The officials from ASI said that the archeology department was trying to fence the site for many years but due to the objection from locals the plan was stalled time and again. The officials said that finally last month all the formalities were completed and for the first time since its excavation, the site will be fenced which marks the major step in preservation and restoration of the site.

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“The fencing work has been outsourced to the R&B department and we are hoping that this time work will be finished soon without any hurdle. Under the project we are going to fence the site which is known for its Neolithic pits and other things of great archeological importance. The grill fencing of the site will cover the 86 kanals of the site which is located on an elevated land in Burzahom locality. We were finally successful in taking the locals of the area in confidence who were expressing some reservations earlier,” an official said.

The official said that the project costing over Rs 1 crore for the fence will pave way to future plans for the site which is of great importance in context of culture and history of Kashmir.

The official also said that after the completion of the fence the department will have a visible demarcation and fencing of the site for the first time since its excavation. “It will help in the preservation of the important site to a great extent and protect the site.”

ASI’s J&K head, Vinod Singh Rawat, said that their main focus is to finish the fencing of the entire site as soon as possible.

He said that the department was doing everything to complete the construction process swiftly. He said that since winters are round the corner, the construction will be completed by next year.

The Burzahom archeological site is on UNESCO’s world heritage watch list.

As per UNESCO, the Neolithic site of Burzahom “brings to light transitions in human habitation patterns from the Neolithic period to Megalithic period to the early historic period.

The first excavation at the Burzahom site was carried out in 1936 by the Yale Cambridge Expedition headed by Helmut de Terra and Dr. Thomson Paterson. Later the Archeological Survey of India made detailed excavations of the site between 1960 and 1971.