12 - Identifying Ancient Intramonastic Pathways among Gandharan Buddhist Sites through GIS


Faizan Khan, University of Texas at Austin


This project focuses on identifying the pathways between the sites of the Gandharan Buddhist civilization with the help of GIS technology to identify unfound Gandharan archaeological sites, which are under the threat of getting permanently unaccessible and destroyed due to rapidly growing urbanism in the region. This project employed GIS principles and techniques for executing the least-cost analysis between the two major Gandharan Buddhist temple complexes, Mardan and Taxila. The project used ArcGIS Pro software to perform GIS analysis and produce maps, using 30-meter Aster Global DEM data from the EARTHDATA database of NASA. The project then used the metabolic cost of walking for humans to create metabolically least-cost paths between the two sites. The result of the project identified more than one possible route between these Buddhist Gandharan sites used by Buddhist monks and people to travel on foot. This project provides the baseline for archaeologists to do LiDAR or field surveys along the proposed paths to find currently unknown Gandharan Buddhist archaeological sites.