Guide to Historic Taxila

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Taxila of the Achaemenids
(521- 326 B.C

Taxila become a part of the Achaemenian Empire at least from the time of Darius I     ( 521 – 486 B.C. ), when the last local rulers, Pukkusati, was overthrown and Taxila become a seat of the Achaemenian province of Gandhara. Gandhara solders were recruited by the Achaemenians and they even fought on the side of Darius III in the battle of Gaugamela (331 B.C.) against Alexander the great. Gandharan men are depicted at the tomb of Artaxarxes III (died 338 B.C. ). It is only after the Achaemenian defect that Taxila resumed its independence under the local ruler Ambhi. It is the Achaemenian practice of engraving on rocks that was later copied by the Mauryan emperor Asoka in hi Rock Edicts. In the same way the Mauryan highway with inns was an extension of the Achaemenian road link from Susa and Persepolis to Taxila. The Achaemenian columns having capital with bull back to back and pillared halls were also copied by the Mauryans. Similarly the Achaemenian employment of Aramaen clerks, who used Aramaen writing, gave origin to the local writing, known as Kharoshthi . in the same way the Achaemenian use of coins currency gave rise to the local currency, known as bent bar coins and circular discs. Punch-marked coins, derived from them, because common in the time of the Mauryan emperors. They also followed the Achaemenian model of administrative. Taxila wasl inked in trade with the west, and Taxila University received many new impulses.

Hathial To Bhir Achaemenian Remains

As we walk back from the university site to Hathial Mound, we cross the open un excavated agriculture ground, and then see the newly excavated structural walls built in limestone boulders of a type different from the older Aryan walls of kanjur stone. This was the beginning of Achaemenian construction on Hathial Mound. From this top as we look on the western bank of the Tamra-Nala, we notice a wide open ground, on the side of which stands the present Taxila Museum and further shed is the site of Bhir (derived from the Muslim word Pir , a saint ) Mound . Excavation have been conducted here by Sir John Marshall, Sir Mortimer wheeler, and twice by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Pakistan. The excavations of Sir John Marshall present a better picture of the house plan, city streets and lanes, drainage system, sanitary arrangement, water supply and shopping centres, making a complex of residential houses, professional quarters-cum-shops, administrative building and a market plaza. Only towards the west one see a temple complex. Of the four structural periods of Marshall, only the lowest belong to the Achaemenian. How ever, the whole construction at this time speaks of a haphazard extension of the city from Hathial to Bhir and hence does not show a planned city. And yet the street alignment all west. The alignment of the streets speaks of the vehicular traffic that must have connected the Bhir site with the northern route.


General view of Bhir Excavations.

Bent Bar and Punch-marked coins.

Jewellery from Bhir Mound.


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