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U.S. funds excavation of 16th century India tombs 2015-08-08

Saturday, 2015, August 8
Qutb Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad
Reuters Media

Hyderabad, India -- The old Qutb Shahi Tombs in India's southern Hyderabad city are getting a new life as they are being restored under a project sponsored by the United States.

The 400-year-old tombs have got grant of over USD100, 000 for the excavation work.

The United States, in collaboration with Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) - world's leading conservation body, are undertaking restoration and conservation project of the royal necropolis, said deputy chief of mission, U.S. embassy, Michael Pelletier.

"We are working with the Aga Khan Trust through the (U.S.) Ambassadors Cultural Preservation Fund (AFCP) in order to do some of the excavation and history of this part of site. This is a programme that we have global, where the US government provides funds for preservation and restoration of historic and culturally significant sites," said Pelletier on Saturday (August 08).

Pelletier, who visited the excavation site, appreciated the effort made by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The project is also being supported by the Department of Archaeology and Museums, government of southern state of Telangana.

AKTC has also roped in archaeology and history students to get training and practical experience as part of the project.

"One of the other things that's great about this projects is that they train local people to do some of the work, to restore some of the buildings. They bring back some of those traditional ways of doing things and here at this site in particular, the Aga Khan Foundation has been working with archeological students and history students to give them the training and practical experience that they can use in their career. So, skills development effort is also a very exciting project," added Pelletier.

Head of Aga Khan project for restoration of Qutb Shahi Tombs, Ratish Nanda, said during the excavation work many structures were found.

"During the time of excavation, many residential buildings, some water-related structures found were seen by the officials. This work will go on for a year and half," said Nanda.

The excavation work began in September last year and has already led to discoveries of a 'summer palace', a tunnel, a mosque and a garden among other things from beneath the ground at the 16th and 17th century necropolis.

The restoration work of 'seven tombs' is being carried out by a team of conservation architects, engineers and historians.

The tombs complex is spread over 104 acres area with 72 monuments - 20 major including seven tombs and 52 minor monuments.

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