Middle East


Mesolithic hunter gatherers once occupied the caves in the hills while farmers settled in the valley in the fourth millennium BCE.  In the late sixth century BCE a substantial settlement was built on the southeastern end of the valley.

Material excavated from the area attests to contact with civilizations as far as the Ganges Valley, which supports the belief that Gandhara was one of the early historic Indian kingdoms.

When Alexander the Great conquered the Achaemenid empire and reached India in 326 BCE Taxila’s king voluntarily surrendered to him though no material excavated links Taxila’s to the Persians or Alexander.

Due to the power vacuum that befell Taxila after Alexander’s incursion the region fell to Chandragupta Maurya in 311 BCE.

Taxila was strategically located for trade.  Located in Gandhara, northern Punjab, history records Taxila’s participation in many encounters between east and west.

Taxila became the Maurya’s northern capital.  Ashoka was viceroy here during his father’s reign.  Most buildings uncovered belong to this period.  Houses had a central courtyard.