Discovery of an old stone age cave in Maru Jabal near Jungshahi Kohistan Sindh

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Jokhio Jasarat Ilyas Sindhi
Kohistan of Sindh is full of the wonders of nature. Among which, caves are also important to get visited for the purpose of study and amazement with enjoyment. The Cave of Maru Jabal was reported recently by the local villagers on social media at Maru Jabal near Jungshahi way last week. Let’s explore the ancient caves historically and from a research point of view. Caves are one of the important residence places for the ancient Homo sapiens since the Old Stone Age to live, hide their wealth as well as to be hidden from their enemies. Such caves are found throughout the mountains of Kohistan region extending from Dadu towards Khirthar range as well as from Sehwan to Malir and Balochistan. The presently discovered ancient cave is one of those caves of the region which were naturally built by the natural disasters or artificially by the local ancient people. After the discovery of the cave by the local inhabitant laborers who were working on K4 water pipes to dig and fix that suddenly they saw a big hole unfolding from the rocks. They used to go into it and when they entered inside, they saw many of the routes going inside the major cave entrance dividing it into various branches which extend it from 1 to 2 Km (as per initial reports). Then they told the nearby villagers to explore it. Hence, many of the villagers reached there and went inside the caves. They were surprised to see such a great cave with multiple branches from one to another inside it. They had torches in their hands while few of them used their cell phones for lighting in the vicinity of darkness. In this way, they entered approximately 1.5 Km into it and returned back. On their return back, they informed the others and then various people visited it. Since then, many people have been visiting it on a regular basis. Kohistani people named Momin Jokhio, Dilbar Khan Jokhio, Munir Brohi and many others also made the videos viral on social media and then it has become very popular on print and electronic media and the people are visiting it in a large number to feel enjoyed. Famous Journalist of Thatta Mr. Mahboob Brohi KTN also documented breaking news on various channels about this discovery in which Dr. Muhammad Ali Manjhi assured that this Maru Jabal is one of the famous and ancient rock mountain whereon he used to walk and collect the data in past so it is possibility to have such an ancient cave of old stone age until it is qualitatively and quantitatively known for date. Additionally Dr. Majhi said that such caves are one of the important signs of the presence of evolutionary evidence. Traditionally, local people are showing the rock-prints inside the cave which are written on its walls. Some of them say that the name of Allah is written while others are saying a few myths that some saints were living here. However, the presence of saints or humans in the past needs to be investigated properly with scientific evidence for the better collection of data for research to reach a final statement of research perspective. There was no such clue of any cave inside Maroo Jabal in the past 500 years said by the local senior residents of Thatta while as presently one of my friend Mr. Asif Ali Jokhio also visited it and he has totally rejected the fact that there is no such clue about “old-stone Age cave” in this cave either it is just a natural hole wherein may be disasters evading and resisting the crust, however still it needs to be properly investigated in terms of the old era and geological study with the sampling help of laboratory and research instruments. Historically, if we take a glance at the ancient pre-history of humans, we would come to know that the prehistoric age was just a climatic age and the earth was like a cycle between glacial and interglacial periods. The glacial periods during which large masses of ice or glaciers are covered much of the land over earth while the warm interglacial periods lacked the widespread glaciers. Humans have lived through many such cycles, which take place over thousands of years while glacial periods made the survival of humans worse than ever. They also lowered the sea level, easing human colonization of the world. We are currently living in an interglacial period, which began ca. 10,000 BC (common age before Christ).Consequently, the prehistoric period was the time when human life was not recorded or documented. It dates back roughly from 2.5 million years ago to 1,200 B.C. Such early human history is divided into three ages; the stone age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Note that the dating of these ages is very approximate but not accurate because of unavailability of proper record in the ancient beginning of history. Stone age is further divided into three periods: Paleolithic (or Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (or Epi-palaeolithic or Middle Stone Age ca. 10,000-3000 BC which is further categorized as; the lower Paleolithic; ca. 2,500,000-200,000 BC, the Middle Paleolithic; ca. 200,000-50,000 and the Upper Paleolithic era which counts ca. 50,000-10,000 BC) and Neolithic (or New Stone Age). Bronze Age (ca. 3000-1000 BC) can be understood by the Copper and Bronze Age while as the rest, (from ca.1000 BC) up to now is termed as the Iron Age. One of my close relative who is working on a sanctioned post of Section Officer in the Primary School Education and Literacy Department Section of Sindh Secretariat (Government of Sindh) is the senior writer and traditional classical poet of Kohistan named Ahsanullah “Agam” Jokhio also insisted me to start a systematic and authentic research on the present cave. I told him that in the meanwhile, I shall try my level best to visit and write on it from my research point of view. However, still the visit and mission to meet the questionnaire and conduct scientific research is pending for upcoming days subject to the condition of the availability of Anthropology, Archeology or Geology experts but, till that it can easily be understood that much literature is present online as well as in the books of Anthropology regarding the prospective topic, which may help us in future to work on this but we can easily say that Maru Jabal Jungshahi cave is though an ancient but scientifically not clear cave yet about the age. Notwithstanding the reality that it has been guessed by the local historian as either it is an evolutionary Stone Age cave or thereafter? Till the writing of these lines, I am sure that many caves in Sindh are also from Mesolithic age; as per previous discovered caves in various parts of Sindh in the various research studies like the first Mesolithic site of Upper Sindh was discovered back in the decade of 1990 AD i.e. March 1995, at the east of the town of Thari, during a survey by Biagi, Paolo which was published in the Intercultural relations between South and Southeast Asia, studies in commemoration of E.C.L During Caspers (1934-1996) E. Olijidam & R.H Spoor (eds) by BAR International Series 1826 (2008): 78-85. The Maru Jabal cave is from the ancient Paleolithic age (according to the comment of senior educationist Prof. Hakim Din Jokhio). Paleontologist Prof. Dr. N.S. Shajra is also doubtful about it yet that it is from the prehistoric age. Hence, further a consolidated research study with proper scientific evidence based work is needed in this regard to provide a baseline for this cave to the regional and global research community in which samples may be collected to send to the reputed laboratories for proper age and studies. The community and various stakeholders requested the Government of Sindh to control the security of this ancient place and make it a tourism point as well as to stop K4 authority not to go forward in any kind of activity to destruct or break up the ancient assets of mountains and rocks under which a lot of treasure of pre-history era is buried.

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