Mineralogical analysis of schist stone from the Buddhist Complex of Zar Dheri (Mansehra, Pakistan)
Keywords:Zar Dheri, Schist Stone, Cruciform Stupa, Gandhara, Urasa
The Buddhist monastic site of Zar Dheri is of great historical importance due to its unique architectural elements and artistic style. In the 1990s, the archaeological mission of the Tokyo National Museum found the site with the main stupa. The archaeology department of the Hazara University of Mansehra, with the financial support from the Higher Education Commission under National Research Programme for Universities (NRPU), carried out a recovery excavation in 2020 to document what remained. The result of this excavation revealed important material remains, including pottery, bones, inscriptions, fragments of stone sculptures and structural remains. These remains are being used to reconfirm the chronology of the site. The present research was conducted to clarify the provenance of the schist stone used by the craftsmen of Zar Dheri for the production of sculptures. For this purpose, a portable XRF analyser, a non-destructive technique for measuring elemental composition from Magnesium (Mg) to Uranium (U) was used to analyse three samples from Zar Dheri and three from the local query. The mineralogical analysis of the schist stone indicates that the source from which the artists obtained the raw material is located in Kaly Parr, approximately 1 km north of the Zar Dheri site.
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