ISLAMABAD (APP) - The 3-day conference on 'Cultural Heritage Issues in Pakistan: Archaeology, Museums and Conservation concluded here Saturday with presentation of final papers by experts and scholars in the filed. During the last session of the conference, Afzal Khan, Deputy Director, Department of Archaeology Punjab University, presented his papers on Pattan Minara excavations and Conservation:The Importance of Gupta Period Monuments in Pakistan. He said that during the current excavations mud brick structures, huge fortification wall, rooms, floor levels, brick floor levels, beads, bangles, animal figurines, oil lamps, bowls, pots, coins and a large number of pottery has been collected. Speaking on the Islamic Archaeology in Pakistan: Future Directions and Potential, Dr Shahid Ahmed said the history of Islamic Archaeology came to light with the experimental excavations of 1960s at the site of Bhanbore, followed by systematic excavation of the site by the Department of Archaeology and Museums in Pakistan. His presentation included the visuals of Islamic sites and the conservation work carried out for their preservation. The 3-day conference was organized by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies with support from the US Embassy in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Ministry of Culture. Twenty-six leading scholars from Pakistan and ten from US were invited to present their new findings while all of these scholars have been involved in recent excavations and research on earlier excavations. The main goal of the conference was to highlight the important new archaeological discoveries made over the past ten years, by both Pakistani and foreign scholars. All the invited scholars presented papers on a wide range of topics including the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Pakistan with significant potential for further research, conservation ad tourism development. Topics including how to manage cultural heritage in the face of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and man-made disasters like bombings and attacks by people trying to destroy cultural heritage, were also discussed. This conference also provided an opportunity for Pakistani and US scholars who have spent considerable time in Pakistan to exchange ideas on the major issues of Cultural Heritage research, preservation, conservation and education. Speakers called for preserving cultural heritage of a Gandharan site in Taxila, which had been damaged due to recent illegal digging by various local and regional groups for antiquities. Addressing the participants, Bahadar Khan and Abdul Ghafoor Lone of Taxila Museum said that the conservation of site was undertaken with the support from the US Ambassadors fund for cultural preservation. They outlined discoveries at the site and the damages caused by by Huna invaders and recently by local looters. Abdul Samad of Hazara University said the project of INSPIRE (International Strategic Partnership in Research and Education) had been carried out in Chitral as part of a three-year project titled Archaeological investigations and their link to heritage management in district Chitral, Pakistan being funded by the British Council. The main objectives of the project are to systematically explore the archaeology of the Chitral valley and develop ways of presenting and managing the unique heritage. The integral part of INSPIRE project was to conduct a Heritage Survey in 2010, he said, adding Our team carried out interviews in Chitral, to comprehend the existing knowledge of Chitralis about their cultural heritage. Dr Muhammad Nasim Khan, Director Institute of Archaeology, said in his paper that the site of Kashmir Smast is regarded as one of the important sites in the region of Gandhara and was identified as the earliest Shaiva Shrine in the area. Dr Ibrahim Shah, Director School of Cultural Heritage and Creative Technologies, said at the end of session that he had referred many times the famous Hindu pilgrimage site of Gor Khatri in Peshawar in his historical accounts. He presented a quick survey of Hindu imagery at the two temples, irrespective of their iconographic and mythological peculiarities.