Peshawar has various names in history, different from one account to another. There are fourteen different versions in addition to the one; the Chinese Pilgrims give in their diaries since antiquity. The city has played a vital role in various periods of its history in the development of the culture of the area. This research is based on literature review, archaeological excavations found from different areas of Peshawar like Bana Mari, Tahkal, Shah ji ki Dheri and Ali Masjid stupa, which are some of the main sites. However, the recent excavation at Gor Khuttree is the most important one from scientific point of view.
Gor Khuttree, located right in the heart of the city, is also the highest point thus ensuring a long and continuous cultural profile. The excavations at Gor Khuttree have exposed a profile covering about 2600 years, from the Achaemenian dynasty of 6th century B.C. through the Kushanas, Hindu Shahis, Islamic, Sikhs and British periods to date.. The antiquity discovered of the ancient past of Peshawar includes buildings, coins, inscriptions, pottery and terracottas etc.
The Achaemenian rule in Peshawar was followed by the invasions of Alexander the Great and then Indo-Greeks. Though the Macedonian rule was short but the valley of Peshawar retained many Hellenistic traditions, which can be seen in the art and architecture of the region. This was followed by the Buddhist Civilization of Gandhara under the Kushanas, which lasted for about five hundred years; the Buddhists monasteries and stupas were destroyed in the white Huns invasion of Gandhara in the 5th Century A.D.
Peshawar has always been at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations. Many people came and went; some settled, others carried on with their merry ways. Unlike other cities of the region, Peshawar has seen, for centuries, many ups and downs, and has embraced different civilizations. The ancient city of Peshawar gave refuge to many cultures, the impact of which can be seen in the archaeological relics buried in isolated mounds under the city and even in the present day buildings and ways of life of the people of Peshawar and the surrounding region.
Peshawar later became a fortified city and had a total of sixteen gates, of which, unfortunately, only two are there, and those too in a dilapidated condition. Over a period of time, different people migrated from the rural and tribal areas into the city, which has had an adverse impact on the ecology, archaeology and antiquity of Peshawar.
This research highlights the cultural profile of Peshawar based on the archaeological investigations, and thus connects itself with previous research. In the end, the research has put forward some recommendations to preserve and rehabilitate the rare and precious archaeological sites and historical monuments of this amazing city for our future generations.