Decision : CONF 201 VI.22
With regard to Taxila, the Centre reported that during its joint mission with the Sub-regional Office of the Department of Archaeology and Museum in March 1995, it was observed that the nomination file, on the basis of which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, did not clearly indicate the number of sites it contained. The site of Taxila, under the national registry of historic monuments is composed of some 55 sites spread over an area of about 18 kms x 8 kms of the Taxila Valley.
The Centre reported that the state of conservation of the sites visited varied but, on the whole, were in very good condition given the enormous maintenance work the property entails by its size and dispersed components. A scientific study on the application of non-toxic herbicide was deemed to be urgently needed in view of the vegetation overgrowth which cannot be cleared mechanically. The mission noted concern over the gradual expansion of the industrial estates located within the Taxila Valley which, despite their location outside the very limited buffer zone surrounding the registered archaeological sites, nonetheless risk impacting upon the overall integrity of the Taxila World Heritage site in its ensemble. The limestone blasting and quarrying activities in the Taxila Valley also need to be monitored in view of the alleged impact on the structural stability of the Jaulian site, Dharmajika Temple and the Bhir Stupa.
International and national funding to establish a site conservation laboratory in Taxila, both for the conservation of movable objects of the impressive Taxila Museum collection and for in-situ sculptures must be sought. The Centre reported that specific recommendations on stucco preservation, roofing, drainage and other conservation measures will be contained in a monitoring report currently under preparation with the Sub-regional Office in Taxila of the Department of Archaeology and Museums.
The Centre reported on the extremely positive attitude on the part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and.Tourism and notably, its Department of Archaeology and Museums, on the establishment of a national monitoring mechanism as a management tool for the conservation of World Heritage sites in Pakistan.
Having noted the interim report on the state of conservation of Taxila, the Bureau recommended that the Department of Archaeology and Museums, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, (i) carry out the required scientific studies on vegetation control to minimize the damage to the masonry and structure of the monuments, and (ii) to appraise the impact of the heavy industries and the stone quarrying in the Taxila Valley areas.