Unesco starts excavations in two Kathmandu monuments

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Kathmandu, Dec 12 (IANS) Continuing a mission initiated last year to restore Nepal’s cultural heritage damaged in the 2015 earthquake, Unesco has commissioned post-disaster rescue excavations at two monuments in Kathmandu Valley Unesco World Heritage Site.

Unesco, along with a team of experts from Nepal’s Department of Archaeology and Durham University in Britain, is undertaking excavations at the Jagannath and Gopinath Temples in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, the UN body said in a statement on Monday.

The two monuments, famous tourist attractions in Kathmandu valley, were severely damaged in last year’s quake.

Christian Manhart, Unesco representative to Nepal stated: “The continued archaeological investigation of subsurface heritage and evaluation of the foundations of earthquake-damaged monuments are a key part of the process of the rehabilitation of the Kathmandu Valley’s World Heritage of Outstanding Universal Value in advance of its reconstruction.”

“Unesco welcomes this project that brings together archaeologists from Nepal and around the world to provide insights for architects and engineers in the rebuilding of this unique cultural heritage,” the representative added.

The 2015 Gorkha earthquakes were a human and cultural catastrophe that devastated lives and livelihoods across Nepal, while damaging and destroying much of Nepal’s unique cultural heritage, including monuments within the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site.

Last year, Unesco led a team from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo that undertook architectural evaluations of Jagannath Temple.

Kosh Prasad Acharya, project co-director and former Director-General of Nepal’s Department of Archaeology said: “Unesco-sponsored pilot excavations in 2015 illustrated the potential of multi-disciplinary investigations prior to reconstruction of monuments in the Kathmandu Valley.”

“Building on this earlier research, these excavations will provide evidence of the origins and development of these monuments and lead to new information that will safeguard these monuments for future generations,” Acharya said.

–IANS

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