It is beyond doubt that Alexander marched through northern Pakistan after crossing the Hindu Kush to India. His exact route has not been established mainly because little or no excavations have been undertaken in that part of the country. From time to time, however, some spectacular and less spectacular finds trickle to the outside world, like the enormous hoard of coins retrieved from a well at Mir Zakah (see: Alexander’s real face).
At Barikot in Pakistan, ancient Bazira, archaeologists recently discovered a large amount of weapons and coins from the Indo-Greek period (2nd century BC to 1st century AD), as well as earthenware that had been imported from Greek Bactria and even from as far away as the Mediterranean at some time during the 2nd century BC.
It is evidently not a direct legacy of Alexander’s passage, but the successive layers of occupation of Bazira could clearly be identified. Beneath the Indo-Greek remains that included a defensive wall from the 2nd century BC, archaeologists exposed the Mauryan settlement from the 3rd century BC. Outside the defense wall, they found remains from the Gandhara culture going back to the 8th and 7th century BC. These excavations confirmed that all the pre-Greek layers have been purposely destroyed in order to build the defensive wall and a fortress that could be Greek. Only one tenth of the fort has been excavated so far and the work will take at least another thirty years or so to be completed.
During these operations, a large late Kushan temple from the 3rd century AD has also been located at the northern end of the site. It is a little surprising to hear about this Buddhist temple considering that today’s inhabitants are either Muslim or share the Kalash belief of multiple gods.
The Swat Valley is still shrouded in mystery and the most recent excavations reveal that several towns were built one on top of previous settlements. Archaeologists are hoping to gather more information about the origin of the mysterious Kalash people. The most recent studies seem to indicate that their forefathers came from Europe and it remains to been proven whether these people arrived in the wake of Alexander the Great or were traders passing through the Swat Valley.