Bangladesh historical site, Mahasthangarh, victim of brick recycling


Mahasthangarh, an ancient Bangladeshi historical site, has become the victim of brick recycling by locals.


Munir Uz Zaman

A Bangladesh historical site is disappearing brick by brick, reported AFP.

Mahasthangarh, once the ancient city of Pundranagar, was a seat of Buddhist learning whose monasteries were reknowned in the region.

The city was said to have helped the belief system spread through southeast Asia.

It is the oldest archaeological site, created between the 4th and 7th centuries BC, and attracts many tourists.

Global Heritage Fund says that now the site is being threatened by looting and locals who steal the ancient bricks for their own use.

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The Fund has listed the site as one of the most endangered places in the world and one of the top 10 in Asia.

It is also facing a crisis as squatter homes begin to be built overtop the ruins.

The Daily News reported that a Bangladesh court has outlawed squatting on the site but archaeologists believe that the damage is already irreversible.

"The villagers destroyed some of the ruins so badly that it's now impossible to say what exactly was on this site," said Shafiqul Alam, former head of the government's archaeology bureau told AFP.

"Many of the mounds described in cartographic sources have since disappeared."

The squatter deny they are there illegally.