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Books > History > An Archaeological Tour in Waziristan and Northern Baluchistan
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An Archaeological Tour in Waziristan and Northern Baluchistan
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An Archaeological Tour in Waziristan and Northern Baluchistan
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Introduction

THE interests of history, geography and archaeology combined have. drawn me for many years past towards those border regions which since ancient times have witnessed the interchange of the civilizations and ethnic elements of India and Iran. Successive periods of official employment in the North-West Frontier Province and archaeological expeditions undertaken beyond its administrative border had enabled me to gain such personal acquaintance with this fascinating ground as seemed essential for a proper study of its past, from the high valleys of the Hindukush right down to the Kurram river. But further south my opportunities had remained restricted to what glimpses rapid visits paid in 1904 to a few easily accessible points of Baluchistan had allowed me to gather.

The chance for prolonged work in this far-flung southern portion of the Indo-Iranian borderland. was afforded by the important discoveries which in .1923-25 had rewarded the excavations carried out under Sir John Marshall's direction at the prehistoric sites of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in the lower Indus region and those subsequently undertaken by Mr. Hargreaves in Kalat territory. They had brought to light remains of a prehistoric civilization unmistakably pointing to links with that of a very early period traced in Mesopotamia and at sites of, or near, Iran such as Susa, Anau and Sistan.

Proposal of tour.-The special attention thus drawn to the area separating the lower Indus from the head of the Persian gulf induced me in May 1925, while on deputation in England, to propose an archaeological reconnaissance of this region, as far as it lies within the limits of British India. It was to be undertaken by me as soon as I had completed my tasks on the results of my third Central-Asian expedition. The proposal received Sir John Marshall's generous support and on his recommendation was sanctioned by Government. The survey of an area so extensive could in any case not be carried out in less than two cold Weather seasons, and as my expedition into Upper Swat in the spring of 1926 necessarily delayed completion of my Innermost Asia until the close of the year, I decided to use the remaining cold weather months for a tour within that well-defined portion of northern Baluchistan which lies between the Takht-i-Sulaiman range and the Afghan uplands of Ghazni and Kandahar.

My programme for the tour to be recorded in these pages was directly influenced by the fact that investigations carried out in 1898 by Dr. F. Noetling, late of the Indian Geological Survey, had clearly proved the existence of prehistoric remains at several points of the Zhob, Loralai and Quetta-Pishin Districts.' A special reason for approaching this area from the north was supplied by the information which Mr. Evelyn Howell, C.S.I., C.I.E., Resident in Waziristan, had previously communicated to Mr. Hargreaves, Superintendent of the Frontier Circle, regarding certain ancient mounds and other remains he had noticed both within Waziristan and along its foothills on the Dera Ismail Khan border, and which so far had' remained unsurveyed. I was all the more anxious to follow up this information by an actual examination of those sites since the barren hill tracts held now by the Wazirs and neighbouring Pathan tribes present a distinct historical interest to the student of India's north-western borderlands.

Interest of Waziristan.-As far as the history of quite modern times is concerned, it will be enough here to refer to the long succession of inroads on the part of the turbulent Wazir and Mahsfid tribes and to the arduous military operations necessitated for their repression. Ever since the extension of British rule to the trans-Indus border they have made the control of Waziristan a particularly difficult task for those who have to keep watch and ward on the North-West Frontier of India. Notwithstanding the scantiness of historical records available for this semi-barbarous border tract, there is good reason to believe that conditions, similar to those now prevailing in Waziristan must have all through the past exposed the settled population in this part of the Indus Valley to particular dangers of attack and invasion by valiant, if far less civilized, tribes holding the arid hills above it. The very scantiness of cultivable land and the adverse physical conditions in general of a barren mountain land must at all times have forced those occupying it to lead a semi-nomadic existence and to look upon the fertile plain watered by the Indus as their natural raiding ground. It is safe to assume that long before Waziristan and the belt of hills both to the north and south received their present Pathan occupants these tracts had witnessed the advance, whether slow or rapid, of earlier waves of tribes which first harried and in the end conquered the neighbouring riverine plains.

**Contents and Sample Pages**









An Archaeological Tour in Waziristan and Northern Baluchistan

Item Code:
NAW824
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Edition:
1998
Language:
English
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11.00 X 8.50 inch
Pages:
130 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
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Introduction

THE interests of history, geography and archaeology combined have. drawn me for many years past towards those border regions which since ancient times have witnessed the interchange of the civilizations and ethnic elements of India and Iran. Successive periods of official employment in the North-West Frontier Province and archaeological expeditions undertaken beyond its administrative border had enabled me to gain such personal acquaintance with this fascinating ground as seemed essential for a proper study of its past, from the high valleys of the Hindukush right down to the Kurram river. But further south my opportunities had remained restricted to what glimpses rapid visits paid in 1904 to a few easily accessible points of Baluchistan had allowed me to gather.

The chance for prolonged work in this far-flung southern portion of the Indo-Iranian borderland. was afforded by the important discoveries which in .1923-25 had rewarded the excavations carried out under Sir John Marshall's direction at the prehistoric sites of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in the lower Indus region and those subsequently undertaken by Mr. Hargreaves in Kalat territory. They had brought to light remains of a prehistoric civilization unmistakably pointing to links with that of a very early period traced in Mesopotamia and at sites of, or near, Iran such as Susa, Anau and Sistan.

Proposal of tour.-The special attention thus drawn to the area separating the lower Indus from the head of the Persian gulf induced me in May 1925, while on deputation in England, to propose an archaeological reconnaissance of this region, as far as it lies within the limits of British India. It was to be undertaken by me as soon as I had completed my tasks on the results of my third Central-Asian expedition. The proposal received Sir John Marshall's generous support and on his recommendation was sanctioned by Government. The survey of an area so extensive could in any case not be carried out in less than two cold Weather seasons, and as my expedition into Upper Swat in the spring of 1926 necessarily delayed completion of my Innermost Asia until the close of the year, I decided to use the remaining cold weather months for a tour within that well-defined portion of northern Baluchistan which lies between the Takht-i-Sulaiman range and the Afghan uplands of Ghazni and Kandahar.

My programme for the tour to be recorded in these pages was directly influenced by the fact that investigations carried out in 1898 by Dr. F. Noetling, late of the Indian Geological Survey, had clearly proved the existence of prehistoric remains at several points of the Zhob, Loralai and Quetta-Pishin Districts.' A special reason for approaching this area from the north was supplied by the information which Mr. Evelyn Howell, C.S.I., C.I.E., Resident in Waziristan, had previously communicated to Mr. Hargreaves, Superintendent of the Frontier Circle, regarding certain ancient mounds and other remains he had noticed both within Waziristan and along its foothills on the Dera Ismail Khan border, and which so far had' remained unsurveyed. I was all the more anxious to follow up this information by an actual examination of those sites since the barren hill tracts held now by the Wazirs and neighbouring Pathan tribes present a distinct historical interest to the student of India's north-western borderlands.

Interest of Waziristan.-As far as the history of quite modern times is concerned, it will be enough here to refer to the long succession of inroads on the part of the turbulent Wazir and Mahsfid tribes and to the arduous military operations necessitated for their repression. Ever since the extension of British rule to the trans-Indus border they have made the control of Waziristan a particularly difficult task for those who have to keep watch and ward on the North-West Frontier of India. Notwithstanding the scantiness of historical records available for this semi-barbarous border tract, there is good reason to believe that conditions, similar to those now prevailing in Waziristan must have all through the past exposed the settled population in this part of the Indus Valley to particular dangers of attack and invasion by valiant, if far less civilized, tribes holding the arid hills above it. The very scantiness of cultivable land and the adverse physical conditions in general of a barren mountain land must at all times have forced those occupying it to lead a semi-nomadic existence and to look upon the fertile plain watered by the Indus as their natural raiding ground. It is safe to assume that long before Waziristan and the belt of hills both to the north and south received their present Pathan occupants these tracts had witnessed the advance, whether slow or rapid, of earlier waves of tribes which first harried and in the end conquered the neighbouring riverine plains.

**Contents and Sample Pages**









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