Bhir Mound

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Bhir Mound
بھڑ ماونڈ
Bhir Mound, excavation (2).jpg
The ruins of Bhir Mound, Taxila, Pakistan
Bhir Mound is located in Pakistan
Bhir Mound
Bhir Mound
Shown within Pakistan
Bhir Mound is located in Gandhara
Bhir Mound
Bhir Mound
Bhir Mound (Gandhara)
Coordinates33°44′36″N 72°49′11″E / 33.7433894°N 72.819614°E / 33.7433894; 72.819614Coordinates: 33°44′36″N 72°49′11″E / 33.7433894°N 72.819614°E / 33.7433894; 72.819614
TypeSettlement
History
Foundedc. 800-525 BCE
Abandonedc. 1st century BCE
PeriodsAchaemenid, Indo-Greeks
CulturesGandhara
Site notes
ArchaeologistsJohn Marshall
Mortimer Wheeler
Mohammad Sharif
Official nameTaxila
Criteriaiii, iv
Designated1980
Reference no.139
Taxila archaeological sites

The Bhir Mound (Urdu: بھڑ ماونڈ‎) is an archaeological site in Taxila in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It contains some of the oldest ruins of Ancient Taxila, dated to sometime around the period 800-525 BCE as its earliest layers bear "grooved" Red Burnished Ware,[1] Bhir Mound, along with several other nearby excavations, form part of the Ruins of Taxila – inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.

Context[edit]

The Bhir Mound archaeological remains represent one stage of the historic city of Taxila. The first town in Taxila was situated in the Hathial mound in the southwest corner of the Sirkap site. It lasted from the late second millennium BCE until the Achaemenid period, with the Achaemenid period remains located in its Mound B.[2] The Bhir Mound site represents the second city of Taxila, beginning in the pre-Achaemenid period and lasting till the early Hellenistic period. The earliest occupation on the Bhir mound begins around 800-525 BC, and what now appears to be the second phase might date to the late 6th and 5th centuries BC, as originally suggested by Marshall.[3]

Excavation[edit]

The ruins of Bhir Mound were excavated from 1913-1925 by Sir John Marshall. The work was continued by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1944-1945 and by Dr. Mohammad Sharif in 1966-1967. Further excavations were performed in 1998-2000 by Bahadur Khan and in 2002 by Dr. Ashraf and Mahmud-al-Hassan.

Marshall came to the Bhir Mound project from earlier work in Athens, expecting very much to find a Greek city in Taxila. Klaus Karttunen says that he became more objective later on, but scholars mention various problems with his results.[4] In his report, Marshall proposed that the Bhir Mound city of Taxila was founded by Darius I as the capital of the Achaemenid province of Hindush. Scholar David Fleming says that the identification was based on 'classical sources and a frankly pro-western bias'.[5] The excavations were conducted without much regard to stratigraphic recording, and the pottery finds were published in such a manner as to preclude a detailed analysis.[5]

The results of Mortimer Wheeler's excavations were never published.[4] Later excavations by Mohammad Sharif were done more carefully with regard to chronological considerations,[6] and they form the basis for the modern assessments.[7][8]

Ruins[edit]

The ruins of the town form an irregular shape measuring around 1 km from north to south and about 600 meters from east to west.[9]

The streets of the city show that they were narrow and the house plans were very irregular. There is little evidence of planning - most of the streets are very haphazard. The houses had no windows to the outside. They opened towards inner courtyards.[10] The courtyard was open and 15 to 20 rooms were arranged around it.[11]

History[edit]

John Marshall stated, based on his excavations during 1913–1934, that heavy masonry of the Achaemenid buildings formed the earliest stratum of the Bhir Mound site. He believed that Taxila formed part of the 20th satrapy of Darius I (called Hinduš by the Persians or Indos by the Greeks).[12] This claim was considered dubious by several scholars.[13][14] and it is invalidated by the current dating of the Bhir Mound site as beginning before 525 BCE as Cameron Petrie suggests. Other scholars doubt if Taxila ever belonged to the Achaemenid Empire.[15]

In 326 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the area. Raja Ambhi entertained the Greek king here; he surrendered to Alexander and offered him a force of soldiers mounted on elephants. In 316 BCE, Chandragupta of Magadha, the founder of the Mauryan dynasty, conquered Panjab. Taxila lost its independence and became a mere provincial capital. Still, the city remained extremely important as centre of administration, education and trade. During the reign of Chandragupta's grandson Ashoka, Buddhism became important and the first monks settled in Taxila. Ashoka is said to have resided here as the vice-king of his father. In 184 BCE, the Greeks, who had maintained a kingdom in Bactria, invaded Gandhara and Panjab again. From now on, a Greek king resided in Taxila, Demetrius.[10][16]

Achaemenid period coin hoard[edit]

Bhir Mound Achaemenid coin hoard
Achaemenid siglos found in the Bhird Mound hoard, Archer king type, circa 5th century BCE.[17][18]
Short "bent bar" from the Bhir Mound hoard. Such coins were minted under Achaemenid administration, and were found in large quantities in the Chaman Hazouri hoard and the Bhir Mound hoard.[19][20][18]

The Bhir Mound coin hoard has revealed numerous Achaemenid coins as well as several Greek coins from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE which circulated in the area, at least as far as the Indus during the reign of the Achaemenids, who were in control of the areas as far as Gandhara. Many of these coins are similar to the local coins struck in Kabul, and found in the Chaman Hazouri hoard.[21][22] This is the case in particular for the Achaeminid siglos type of coins of the 5th century,[23][24] as well as the Gandharan bent-bar punch-marked coins, found in large quantities at Bhir Mound.[25]

Modern numismatists tend to consider that these Gandharan bent-bar punch-marked coins are the precursors of the Indian punch-marked coins.[26][27]

Coins of Philip III and Alexander the Great were also found in Bhir Mound.[28][24]

Many Indian punch-marked coins were also found.[29]

Other sites in the area[edit]

There are important ancient Buddhist sites in this area, such as Dharmarajika, Mohra Muradu, and Jaulian.

Also, there are the remains of other ancient cities that were founded after Bhir Mound, such as Sirkap and Sirsukh.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Petrie, Cameron, (2013)."Taxila", p. 656, in History of Ancient India III: The Texts, and Political History and Administration till c. 200 BC, (eds.) D. K. Chakrabarti and M. Lal, Vivekananda International Foundation, Aryan Books International, Delhi.
  2. ^ Karttunen, Taxila: Indian City and a Stronghold of Hellenism 1990, pp. 88–89.
  3. ^ Petrie, Cameron, 2013. "Taxila", pp. 656-657, in History of Ancient India III: The Texts, and Political History and Administration till c. 200 BC, (eds.) D. K. Chakrabarti and M. Lal, Vivekananda International Foundation, Aryan Books International, Delhi.
  4. ^ a b Karttunen, Taxila: Indian City and a Stronghold of Hellenism 1990, pp. 86–87.
  5. ^ a b Fleming, Where was Achaemenid India? 1993, pp. 68–69.
  6. ^ Fleming, Where was Achaemenid India? 1993, p. 69.
  7. ^ Allchin, The Urban Position of Taxila 1993.
  8. ^ Karttunen, Taxila: Indian City and a Stronghold of Hellenism 1990.
  9. ^ Bhatti, Muhammad Ilyas (2006). Taxila an ancient metropolis of Gandhara. p. 72.
  10. ^ a b Kausch, Anke (2001). Seidenstrasse. p. 300.
  11. ^ Bhatti, Muhammad Ilyas (2006). Taxila an ancient metropolis of Gandhara. p. 73.
  12. ^ Marshall, Sir John Hubert (1951), Taxila: An Illustrated Account of Archaeological Excavations, CUP Archive, pp. 12–15, GGKEY:JWYSC7DGQ07
  13. ^ Pierfrancesco Callieri, India iii. Relations: Achaemenid Period, Encyclopedia Iranica, 15 December 2004.
  14. ^ Fleming, Where was Achaemenid India? 1993, pp. 68–69: "There was little in his discussion of archaeological material that would support such an identification, and the Elamite evidence was not available to him."
  15. ^ Karttunen, Taxila: Indian City and a Stronghold of Hellenism 1990: "With a certain geographical recklessness many have supposed, that as an important early centre Taxila must have been the capital of the Indian dominions of the empire. Taxila, however, did not belong to Gandhara proper, which had a more westerly location, and elsewhere I have tried to show how it is well possible that Taxila never belonged to the empire."
  16. ^ "Livius.org". Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  17. ^ Bopearachchi & Cribb, Coins illustrating the History of the Crossroads of Asia 1992, pp. 56–57: "Coins of this type found in Chaman Hazouri (deposited c.350 BC) and Bhir Mound hoards (deposited c.300 BC)."
  18. ^ a b Marshall, John (1951). Taxila, Vol.III. Bhir Mound coins Plate 234.
  19. ^ CNG Coins
  20. ^ Bopearachchi & Cribb, Coins illustrating the History of the Crossroads of Asia 1992, pp. 57–59: "Silver bent-bar punch-marked coin of Kabul region under the Achaemenid Empire, c.350 BC: Coins of this type found in quantity in Chaman Hazouri and Bhir Mound hoards"
  21. ^ Bopearachchi, Coin Production and Circulation 2000, pp. 300–301
  22. ^ Bopearachchi & Cribb, Coins illustrating the History of the Crossroads of Asia 1992, pp. 57–59
  23. ^ Bopearachchi & Cribb, Coins illustrating the History of the Crossroads of Asia 1992, pp. 56–57: Picture of Achaemenid siglos coin (this type of coin) with caption "Coins of this type found in Chaman Hazouri (deposited c.350 BC) and Bhir Mound hoards (deposited c.300 BC)."
  24. ^ a b Marshall, Taxila, Volume II 1951, p. 854: "The silver coins were a Persian siglos, tetradrachms of Alexander the Great and of Philip III Aridaeus, thirty-three silver bars with wheel symbols."
  25. ^ Bopearachchi & Cribb, Coins illustrating the History of the Crossroads of Asia 1992, pp. 56–57: Picture of Gandharan bent-bar punch-marked coin(this type of coin), with caption "Silver bent-bar punch-marked coin of Kabul region under the Achaemenid Empire, c.350 BC: Coins of this type found in quantity in Chaman Hazouri and Bhir Mound hoards"
  26. ^ Bopearachchi, Coin Production and Circulation 2000, p. 311: "the local coins of the Achaemenid era (...) were the precursors of the bent and punch-marked bars"
  27. ^ Bopearachchi & Cribb, Coins illustrating the History of the Crossroads of Asia 1992, pp. 57–59: About the hoard in Kabul: "In the same hoard there were also discovered two series of local silver coins which appear to be the product of local Achaemenid administration. One series (...) was made in a new way, which relates it to the punch-marked silver coins of India. It appears that it was these local coins, using technology adapted from Greek coins, which provided the prototypes for punch-marked coins made in India."; "In the territories to the south of the Hindu Kush the punch-marked coins, descendants of the local coins of the Achaemenid administration in the same area, were issued by the Mauryan kings of India for local circulation."
  28. ^ Carradice, Ian (1987). Coinage and administration in the Athenian and Persian empires: the Ninth Oxford Symposium on Coinage and Monetary History. B.A.R. p. 88.: "The hoards from Babylonia, Susa, and the Bhir Mound (40-2) included coins of Alexander and of Philip III (Bhir Mound only), and their few sigloi are all of type jy"
  29. ^ Marshall, Taxila, Volume II 1951, p. 854.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]