It has got a unique combination of religious and culturally-important structures, a centrepiece of ancient Bengal, and the site is close to the capital, said archaeologists on Wednesday, emphasising proper preservation and development of the area.

At Nateshwar excavation site in Munshiganj's Tongibari upazila, researchers and experts have discovered several archaeological evidences of a Buddhist city older than a thousand years. These include an entrance and walkway, prayer hall, mortar floor, octagonal stupas, pot shreds, baked clay materials and burnt bricks.

The aesthetic of these stupas is unique in architectural style. A stupa is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics that is used as a place of meditation.

During a visit to the site, archaeologists said an attractive tourist zone can be developed centring the site by taking advantage of the place's location as it is close to the capital.

Though there is progress in terms of excavations, process of conservation seems tough as the country lacks technical and technological expertise and proper funding, they added.

“The government should seek funding for it. China is willing to provide financial support but the cultural affairs ministry is not taking any initiative,” head of the excavation expedition Prof Sufi Mustafizur Rahman told the news agency.

The archaeologist, who teaches at Jahangirnagar University, said no archaeologist will come forward if their request is not entertained. “That's why many remain inactive and silent. I got involved because I am a researcher and a teacher.”

“We have many limitations. If a proper initiative is taken, this site will emerge as a big tourist zone,” said Prof Rahman. “China is interested because Buddhist scholar, religious preceptor and philosopher Atish Dipankar's house is located here.”

After visiting the site, China's Deputy Chief of Mission in Dhaka, Chen Wei, said people to people contact between Bangladesh and China is growing and this site will also help strengthen cultural bonding. “I'm very excited. I see huge possibility…, it can attract many Chinese tourists,” the diplomat told the news agency.

He said they would arrange the required funding if the Bangladesh government seeks funds under a framework or One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. “If this site is conserved and exhibited well, it can be a world heritage site,”