Capacity Building

The Pakistan Institute of Archaeological Training and research. (PIATR)

In South Asia, Pakistan with its rich cultural heritage ranks high in the comity of the nations.  The story begins with the evidence of early man about 2 million years ago in the Soan Valley.  The artifacts represent various stages of human society and activities in the remote past of Pakistan or what is generally called the Paleolithic period.In the Indus or Harappan period, as process of decentralization had set in as reflected in the lack of general homogeneity of cultural traits and standardization of products.  In the wake of decline, regional cultural traits sprouted with predominance of local features. In the core centre of the Indus Valley Civilization of Pakistan and contiguous areas across the Indian borders, the Harappan tradition continued for some time until disappearing completely around 1300 BC.

It is in this background that the Department of Archeology and Museums decided in principle to establish a training Centre in 1988 which is now functioning as the Pakistan Institute of Archeological Training and Research (PIATR) The campus occupying the south-western portion of the Lahore Fort.

Pakistan is rightly proud of hundreds of Buddhist religious monuments such as stupas and monasteries concentrated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and parts of northern Punjab Covering a span of more than a century, the Gandhara art and architecture is basically a religion oriented manifestation with main emphasis on the depiction of Buddhist religious themes and life events of Buddha.  In the beginning of 8th century AD, Pakistan came in direct contact with the Muslims who brought a new ideology and way of life and culture.  The old order gave way to a system which lasted for about one thousand years.

Our reference to the cultural heritage of Pakistan is intended to highlight its richness and also to emphasis the necessity of its preservation by the professionals, conservators and technical staff.  The existence of such a glorious heritage of Pakistan imposes special responsibilities on the nation and in particular, the Department of Archaeology and Museums to ensure its proper preservation, maintenance and projection by the professionally trained staff.  Therefore, like all self- respecting nations, Pakistan is also striving hard, to document, study, preserve and intelligibly present its cultural heritage.  At international level, inter Governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) exist such as ICCROM, ICOMOS and ICOM which are committed to the cause of preservation of cultural heritage.  The need for the establishment of a training institute in Pakistan was felt rather strongly.

The establishment of such an institute with multiple disciplines involves setting up of various laboratories and workshops, providing proper space for offices, Lectures, etc. and arranging for on-campus accommodation for teachers and trainees.

In its initial years a number of courses were conducted to impart training in the field archaeology as well as conservation of monuments. The trainers from abroad were also invited to give training to the officers of Archaeology Department and sister organizations in relevant fields.Some of the major training courses conducted at the PIATR are outlined below.

Training Courses

Training Course  In Archaeology And Museology
(January to March 1988: 8 weeks)

Training Course In Conservation Of  Cultural Property
(September to December 1989: 10 weeks)

Training Course For Fresh Tourist Guides
(December 1989 to February 1990: 10 weeks)

Training Course In Museology
(February to March 1990: 6 weeks)

Training Course In Islamic Epigraphy
(April –August 1991: 20 weeks)

Course In Museology
(May – June, 1947: 7 weeks)

Field Archaeology Courses
(January – April 1993 and 1994)

Intensive Course In Conservation Procedures
(August 1994: two weeks at Lahore and Karachi)

Basic Training Workship For The Development And Promotion Of Museums

Revival of PIATR

This particular institute faced a very lean patch and became dormant due to the lack of staff and funds which is now required to be revived with proper strength of instructing staff as well as provision of requisite equipment for technical training. This institute was devolved to Punjab after 18th Constitutional Amendment.  The Director General of Archaeology, Government of Punjab assured UNESCO for revival of PIATR and has been included in the report submitted by a consultant hired for the preparation of Capacity Building plan of the Directorate General of Archaeology. Beside the staff, machinery and equipments the consultant proposed the following trainings;

  • Core Training For The Staff Of Dga ( Diploma In Archaeology)
  • Short Term Training Modules
  • Professional Workshops
  • Lecture Series
  • Training For Artisans In Traditional Building Crafts

Organizing Seminars/Conference

Department  always  seeks  opportunities  to arrange  seminars , conference  and expert  meetings  to develop  awareness  and  acquaintance   with  international  trend  in the field  of  archeology, Museology, conservations ,  especially  the  ,managements  of  the world  heritage  sites  and  the  promotion  of heritage  tourism  in  country.  Organization of  such  seminars  with  the  help  of  foreign  organizations  and local  institutions  has  contributed  a lot  towards  sensitizing   various  stake  holders of  heritage  regarding  the  endorsement  and  conservations  of the  country’s heritage.

Awareness Campaign

The Department  of  Archeology  of Punjab  has been proactively   enduring  the promotion  and awareness  campaign.  Just a decade  before   department  of  archeology   as an important  custodian  of  cultural  heritage was not in  the realm  of  bureaucratic  considerations.  Electronic  and print  media  was  also  out  of touch  and  ignorant  towards  achievements  and success  of department  of  archeology  at  national  level   as well as  on the front of world   heritage sites .  for  the  promotion and  awareness about  importance  and substance  of  archeology ,  museuology and  heritage tourism, department  has been doing  exceptional  efforts.   It is a result  of  department’s awareness  campaign that  issue  of  archeological  sites  and monuments,  cultural  heritage  and  tourism  promotion  are becoming  trendy  part  of  discussion  and  debates  on social, electronic and print  media.

Training

Dearth & necessity of trained hands in the highly specialized field of archaeology and conservation and management of heritage has been realized in the very beginning of the department and efforts have been consistently made to enhance and update the quality of training contents. Department has been trying its best to leave no stone un-turned in this respect. Pakistan Institute of Archaeological Training & Research (PIATR) played a vital role in catering training facilities to the new entrants in the department and providing expertise and knowledge to the institutions having stake in the field of heritage and other stakeholders in the field of cultural heritage and tourism in the country.  After 18th constitutional amendment PIATR has been devolved to the Punjab Archaeology and still exists on the capacity portfolio of the department. Urgent steps are being taken for making it again a useful and highly academic institution.