Washington: About 20 rock shelters in Pakistan, some dating back to the Stone Age are under threat from construction work and are facing danger of being destroyed due to the negligence of the authorities.
A rock shelter is a shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff and form natural shelters from the weather.
Prehistoric humans often used them as living-places, and left behind debris, tools and other artefacts, reports stonepages.com.
Ongoing development work in Islamabad Sector G-13 has put one of the oldest caves in danger of being destroyed.
A portion of it has been badly damaged as developers are unaware of its significance and the city authorities are least concerned about the preservation of such ancient sites.
The Taxila Institute of Ancient Civilisations (TIAC) recently collected a large number of potsherds from the site and confirmed that the site had been used in prehistoric times.
"There are many rock shelters in the capital, which would be vanished from the scene if proper measures are not taken to preserve it," said TIAC Director Dr. Ashraf Khan.
"We have found pottery, tools and other utensils of daily use, which indicate that further excavation could reveal some interesting facts about the people and the lifestyle of the prehistoric people," he added.
Khan said that quick steps have to be taken to preserve these sites, which otherwise would be destroyed during development work.
"We have repeatedly asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to at least fence the surroundings of rock shelters so that they could not become the victim of construction work," he said.
"Unfortunately, we don`t have enough resources to do proper excavation and research of these rock shelters, but at least we could protect them from damage," he concluded.