Authorities secure newly discovered Aharbal fossil site

Authorities secure newly discovered Aharbal fossil site
GK Photo

Kulgam, Sep 4: The recently ‘discovered’ fossil site at famous tourist destination Aharbal in south Kashmir's Kulgam district has been secured by the department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums.

The department has also marked prints at 16 places of the site.

The samples are to be sent to Baba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, for radiocarbon dating to ascertain its age.

“We have secured the site and the guards have been posted there,” Deputy Director, Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Mushtaq Ahmad Baig told Greater Kashmir.

He said the Deputy Commissioner and the DFO Kulgam are extending every support to protect the site and carry out the survey.

“The sample collection is on. As of now, we have been able to trace prints of 16 places. We have to see if there are any more prints after which the samples would be sent to BARC,” Baig said.

He said the fossils need extensive survey and research to know their exact age and different varieties of flora and fauna.

The site, located barely two kms from the famous Aharbal waterfall along the Kongwatan route was recently unearthed by two teachers, Dr Rouf Hamza and Manzoor Javaid. The duo unearthed the site during fossil hunting.

Experts believe that the site which is rich in fossil biodiversity and replete with dense fossil samples at specific locations can be as old as 488 to 354 million years. However, the exact date can be ascertained only after radiocarbon dating.

Even as most of the fossil sites have either been discovered by foreigners or by professionals, this discovery in J&K has been made by amateur fossil hunters.

Presently, Zewan area on Srinagar outskirts is considered as the oldest fossil site in Kashmir and Aharbal site is likely to replace it.

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