01. Peer Review: Conservation
Major Conservation works being implemented at the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park with the support of the Tata Trusts benefit from regular independent peer reviews. The Peer review is an opportunity for the project team comprising both AKTC and Department of Archaeology and Museums officers to present the conservation proposals and seek guidance.
In 2015, the peer review was held from 26-29 May and discussions focussed on conservation works at Sultan Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb, Jamshed Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb, Hamaam, Badi Baoli, Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah’s Tomb and Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah’s Tomb, amongst others.
- Mr. Gamini Wijesuriya, Project Manager (Sites Unit), ICCROM, Rome, Italy led the peer review along with Dr. MH Talebian, Deputy of Cultural Heritage, ICHHTO, Tehran, Iran & Dr. RC Agarwal, Former Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi.
- Mr. Babji Rao, Asst. Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Hyderabad also joined the three day Peer review.
- The Peer review was attended by Director and officers of the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Telangana.
- The peer review focussed on establishing a Conservation decision making process based on the significance of the site, established conservation philosophy and structures as well as the results of the condition assessment and archival research.
- The Peer Review report was submitted to Tata Trusts.
- The annual independent peer review exercise is in addition to the formal joint review carried out monthly by senior officers of both Department of Archaeology and AKTC. Also, as per the project MoU, a quarterly meeting of the Technical Committee is held under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary (Youth, Culture & Tourism), Government of Telangana.
- The Wakf Tribunal appointed supervisory committee also meets at regular intervals to review project works.
The three day extensive site inspection and discussions led to decisions on several key aspects on the project and on the ongoing works as well as on the works to commence in the coming two years. A similar exercise would be carried out prior to commencing conservation works in Phase 2.
“...Technical works mostly comprise the removal of the late interventions on historic structures which have compromised the form, architectural details, and artistic details and caused structural damages through water leakages and growth of plants. Such additions have also compromised the form, material, craftsmanship and aesthetic aspects of authenticity of structures under conservation. Carefully tested and developed lime mortars are being used by skilled craftsmen in all interventions, which are commendable can be used to defend the ‘common’ criticism brings by certain sections of the society or profession that the final products look ‘new’.
Finally, I join the peer review team to commend and congratulate the excellent work of the project team and for their readiness to openly review and improve the quality through this process and above all setting standards in all aspects of the heritage process.”
DR. GAMINI S. WIJESURIYA, Project Manager, ICCROM, Rome
02: Peer Review: Archaeology
Following the revelations and discoveries, it was necessary for review by experts in the field of archaeology and provide guidance for approach to the conservation, consolidation and presentation of these remains as well as for any future undertakings.
- The following team of expert archaeologists reviewed the site on 13th December 2015:
Dr. RC Agrawal- Former Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India
Prof. K Pulla Rao- Professor, Department of History, University of Hyderabad
Dr. Babji Rao- Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India
Dr. Padmanabhan- Assistant Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums
- After the completion of the inspection, the team of experts appreciated the team of State Department of Archaeology and Museums in Hyderabad and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for discovering and excavating a number of structures on the basis of research and archival photographs.
- They expressed their satisfaction for the meticulous care and precision with which the excavation was carried out and also for applying the laser scanning technique at the archaeological site, which provides a comprehensive and accurate picture of the excavated area.
- The team suggested that the 16th century enclosure wall should be resurrected strategically to its original profile in order to establish the extent of enclosure.
A list of suggestions and discussions were held on the original usage of the area and prospects of long term preservation. This will help in determining original intent of development of the necropolis.
“... AKTC has undertaken the excavations in the different zones of Qutb Shahi Tomb complex and the excavation of the summer palace complex having historical relationship with Bagh-i-Faiz is of importance to total complex and establish significance (of the exposed structures). There is a every possibility that bagh and summer palace are the earliest remains and contemporary to Qutb Shahi Dynasty established in the second decade of 16th century . The excavation of various platforms the remnants of which have been exposed in sections need further examination to ascertain the significance of individual platforms in relation to the tombs and Bagh–i–Faiz.
The whole excavated area adjoining to the rock-cut step well (Baoli) and behind the mortuary bath needs conservation to integrate the complex with the development being carried out in the tombs complex. As a whole, I feel a commendable work has been done...”
Dr. R.C AGRAWAL, Former Joint Director General, ASI