In the rocky mountains of Skardu, Pakistan, researchers have uncovered a mysterious 1,200-year-old cross weighing up to three tons.
A three-member team from the University of Baltistan, Skardu, has discovered a surprise cultural heritage, a huge marble "cross" high up in the mountain ranges of Kavardo village in Baltistan. The team which visited the site is from the University of Baltistan, Skardu.
The Research and Expedition team was led by Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naeem Khan and consisted of Director Academics, Dr. Zakir Hussain Zakir and Director External Linkages, Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain Maqpoon. They visited the mountain site to study the ancient cross, in company of some local villagers and mountain guides.
“The huge cross of marble rock weighing 3-4 tons and measuring approximately 7x6 feet has been found some two kilometers from the base camp, high in the mountains of Kavardo, Baltistan, overlooking the Indus River,” the team said in a press release on June 14.
According to initial estimates, the cross is believed to be 1,000 to 1,200-years-old and could reveal more information about Christianity’s presence in the region.
“This needs carbon dating and exact scientific evidence, but there's a lot of excitement and a lot of division,” said Prof Muhammad Naeem Khan, vice chancellor of the University of Baltistan.
Wajid Bhatti, who researches ancient Christian crosses at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, contacted the university and said he recognized the style of the cross.
He said the cross is “a typical Thomonian Cross of India.” According to Christian tradition, the apostle Thomas brought the gospel to India in 52 AD.
According to Bhatti, the cross is one of the biggest ever discovered on the subcontinent.
The University of Baltistan said it will reach out to European and North American universities to help uncover more information about the age and origin of the cross.
“It is indeed great news for all of us that an ancient cross was found in Skardu. It shows that Christianity existed in this area and there must be a church and houses of Christians. There are currently no Christian families in that area, but they were once present,” said Mansha Noor, executive director of Caritas Pakistan.