Archaeology News Thread

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Flint, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    1,000-yr-old Perumal idol found in Sriperumbudur
    6 Apr 2009, 0450 hrs IST, D Madhavan, TNN
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...und-in-Sriperumbudur/articleshow/4363394.cms:
    KANCHEEPURAM: They were just deepening a pond to earn the Rs 80 a day promised under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. But when
    the villagers from Keeranallur Panchayat in Sriperumbudur, 55 km from Chennai, dug up a stone idol on Saturday afternoon, little did they know that they had unearthed a 1,000-year-old treasure.

    "We found the idol by accident around 1 pm on Saturday when the group was working," Karpagam Anbarasan, president, Keeranallur village panchayat, told The Times of India on Sunday. "We started deepening the pond, one of six in our village, on Friday. This is the first time an ancient idol has been found in our village. It's a privilege," she said.

    A state government archaeological official who inspected the idol, found at a depth of 10 feet, said it must be at least 1,000 years old.

    An inscription, written in ancient Tamil and Hindi, in a culvert along the main road that connects Keeranallur with Kancheepuram, describes a treasure to be found in the village. "We believe this idol is part of that treasure mentioned in the ancient inscription," Karpagam said.

    Sriperumbudur, incidentally, is the birth place of saint Ramanujam, who propagated Vaishnavism from here. Perumal is the main deity worshipped by Vaishnaviites. A decade ago, three ancient idols of Perumal and Amman and a stone statue of Nandhi were found in Sriperumbudur.

    The Perumal idol found on Saturday, about three-feet tall and 1.5 feet wide and made of white stone, seems to be complete, with no damage to its structure. Sources in the state archaeological department said such white stone idols were usually made in the northern part of the state in Tirutani. The department will take possession of the idol in a couple of days, after which they will conduct tests to ascertain its exact age, the sources added.

    Once the idol was found, the villagers informed panchayat president Karpagam, who in turn contacted Sriperumbudur tahsildar T Mohanraj and revenue inspector S Manogaran. The idol is currently in the Sriperumbudur taluk office. "We have sent a report about the idol to the Kancheepuram collector, Santosh K Misra," officials in the Sriperumbudur taluk said. "When we get a communication from the district officials, we will hand the idol over to them, who will give it the archaeological department. Finally, it will be displayed in the museum in Kancheepuram," they said.

    Ironically, the three idols found a decade ago have been lying in the taluk office since then despite repeated reminders to the district administration. Officials said the old idols would be handed over with the new find.

    [email protected]
     
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  3. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    City archaeologists discover Harappan graves
    9 Apr 2009, 0259 hrs IST, Swati Shinde, TNN

    PUNE: A team of archaeologists from the Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute is back from Haryana where they stumbled upon a
    record 70 Harappan graves at a site in Farmana, discovering the largest burial site of this civilisation in India so far.

    The excavation proved one of the biggest breakthroughs in South Asian history and is now listed for World Heritage status conferred by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

    It is an extraordinary archaeological finding. A big housing complex that matured during the Harappan era was discovered by these archaeologists who have been working in this little known village for the past three years.

    Speaking to TOI, Vasant Shinde, joint director of Deccan College and project director, said, "The excavation was on for a while, but only this year the magnitude of the site could be understood, expanding from a mere seven graves to 70 graves. Our objective, however, is to find out how development took place among the Harappans. Scholars talk about change in the Harappan civilisation but nobody knows how it happened. Such a large burial will definitely help us find answers to all these questions."

    The archaeological team here uncovered an entire town plan. The skeletal remains belong to an era between 2500 BC to 2000 BC. This is when the civilisation prospered the most. "The remains will help us understand where the Harappans came from and why their sophisticated and urbanised culture collapsed. We will also be conducting scientific tests on the remains that we have found which will also give us clues on the Harappan life. In fact, a DNA test will also be conducted on the skeleton which will answer questions on their habitat and what they ate, whether they were vegetarians or non-vegetarians from the amount of zinc, copper, magnese found in the bones through this test."

    While Deccan College has a major share in this excavation, two other institutes - the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan and Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, have also been involved with this project since inception. In fact, the DNA tests will be carried out in Japan.

    A total of 80 to 100 archaeologists and students have been working on this site which includes 40 students. The entire team has so far excavated one complex which has 26 rooms, 3 to 4 kitchens, an equal number of bathrooms and a courtyard in the centre. The size of the rooms vary from 6x6 to 16x20.

    Nilesh Jadhav, a Phd student from the Deccan College, involved in this project since the beginning, said, "This particular project will be highly useful for us in our research work. We have learnt a lot during our excavation especially the orientation of the Harappan civilisation, the journey from beginning to the time."
     
  4. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Clay seal with ancient inscriptions found at Paharpur

    Clay seal with ancient inscriptions found at Paharpur

    http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2009/04/18/news0291.htm

    BSS, Dhaka

    A team of archaeologists recently found a part of a clay seal with ancient inscriptions at Paharpur Buddhist Monastery site in the northern district of Naogaon.

    The five-member team also dug out artifacts, including brick- built structures, floor and unknown earthen pots, at the site during their excavation.

    The Department of Archeology carried out the month-long excavation work that ended on April 16 to collect archeological information about site.

    Naheed Sultana, custodian of the department and a member of the excavation team, told BSS today that most of the artifacts were found during excavation from 50cm to 3.50m under the existing ground level at the north, east and west sides of the site.

    The archeologists dug out ancient brick-built structures of Gupta dynasty along with other artifacts under the basement of the main temple on the north-eastern side last year, said Md. Mahabub-ul-Alam, a member of the same team.

    A huge number of broken unknown earthen pots have been found under 2.5m from the exiting ground-level along with other cultural accumulation including ash, charcoal and several cultural materials, said Naheed Sultana.

    "Recently found artifacts, especially earthen pots, show that the habitation in the site was before Gupta dynasty," said Alam.

    Naheed Sultana said two lines of illegible ancient inscriptions found just below the Buddha image are most probably "Proto-Bengali" style, said Naheed Sultana.

    "The illegible inscriptions are most probably of 10-11 century AD," she added.

    "It is presumed that recently found brick-built structures and floor were constructed during Gupta dynasty," said Alam, also the custodian of Mohastan Archeological Museum in Bogra.
     
  5. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Wari-Bateshwar: Fresh discoveries show signs of ancient city

    Emran Hossain, back from Narsingdi
    The Daily Star - Details News

    Fresh discovery of structures and artefacts traces signs of contemporary satellite settlements outside the fort city in Wari-Bateshwar, reinforcing last year's indication that the place was a Janapada or Mahajanapada, one of the earliest kingdoms or states in the Indian subcontinent.

    Archaeologists say recent discoveries at three sites surrounding Wari-Bateshwar have confirmed that the settlements were contemporary to the ancient city dating back to 600 BC to 100 BC.

    "Since we began claiming Wari-Bateshwar as a fort city in 2000, many were raising questions over indications to the existence of the fort. The recent discovery of brick structures established that urbanisation had flourished in Wari-Bateshwar," says Prof Sufi Mustafizur Rahman, who led the excavation team from the archaeology department of Jahangirnagar University.

    "We think Wari-Bateshwar was the capital of the Janapada or Mahajanapada, but it requires further research to determine the name of the Mahajanapada," he adds.

    Discovery of a brick-built "unique structure" inside the fort city confirmed last year that urbanisation flourished there around 2,500 years ago and reached its excellence.

    Last year's discovery of silver punch-marked coins of the pre-Mauryan period dating back to 600 BC to 400 BC also indicates that the place was a Janapada or Mahajanapada.

    The archaeologists are excavating in three sites to trace the ancient settlement. The sites are Rangartek, a site one kilometre off the fort city, Algartek, two-km off the fort city, and Kamrabo, four-Km off the fort city, which were among the 48 sites identified by the archaeologists.

    The discoveries that confirm timeframe of the settlements contemporary to the fort city are northern black polished ware (NBPW), Knobbed Ware, Metal artefacts, semi-precious stone beads and brick, which were also discovered inside the fort city.

    These discoveries were made both in Rangartek and Algartek, while a perfectly square brick-built 35 square feet structure was partially unearthed in Kamrabo, which is identical to the modern age architecture in its foundation style.

    Though timeframe of the brick-built structure couldn't be confirmed immediately, the large size of the bricks and one-metre wide wall confirm the structure at least dates back to pre-medieval period [it may go back to early historic period], archaeologists say.

    What fascinates the archaeologists about the perfect square is positioning of the structure and the planned landscape, on which the structure is situated. Excavators say the structure is situated on the top back of the turtle-shaped landscape.

    Situation of the structure at such a magnificent place indicates the structure might be used for special purposes by the ancient people, while the landscape indicates professional excellence of urban planners and architects, interpret the archaeologists with reference to the Indian archaeological literature.

    Archaeological literature in the Indian subcontinent suggests that the structures built in such a special place in such a planned landscape might have been used for religious purpose.

    The discovered foundation of the brick-built structure has so far been found multi-layered, one step supported by another. The archaeologists say they have unearthed three steps of walls with foundation always being wider than the wall, which is identical to modern day style.

    Existence of satellite settlements indicates that other classes like farmers, labourers and artisans used to live outside and support the city life.

    BRICK-BUILT UNIQUE STRUCTURE
    The brick-built structure discovered inside Wari-Bateshwar measuring 32ft by 18ft is called "unique" as literature on archaeology does not have reference to any such structure, the excavators claim.

    "The structure can be considered as an inverted house without any opening -- windows or doors -- surrounded by 12ft high walls," the excavators explain as the The Daily Star correspondent makes a visit there.

    A part of the structure was first discovered in 2007-2008 and was unearthed fully this year.

    The excavators believe archaeologists, architects and enthusiasts from home and abroad would soon crowd the site as the structure is "unique" in nature.

    "The site should be constructed as a permanent onsite museum with suggestions from conservation and civil engineering experts. So adequate fund is required to turn the site into an onsite museum," comments Prof Rahman.

    "This is a peculiar structure constructed in a specialised style and it's a wonder how a 12-foot wall could be standing this way," he adds.

    WARI-BATESHWAR DISCOVERED SO FAR
    The discovery of coins last year provides substantial and significant information about a well-established urban civilisation as part of the second urbanisation on the context of Indian subcontinent in Wari-Bateshwar.

    Existence of a large number of coins discovered there also suggests trade, a money-based economy system and administration besides bearing sociocultural and sociopolitical condition prevalent at that time, archaeologists explain.

    Studies also reveal punch-mark symbols found on the faces of the silver coins are distinctive in symbols, shapes and forms. This reveals that the Mahajanapada was a distinctive one in addition to the 16 Mahajanapadas so far unearthed in the subcontinent by archaeologists and described in the Jain and Buddhist literature.

    The discovery of Rouletted Ware (RW), Knobbed Ware, sandwich glass beads and other artefacts indicates that the place had relations and trade with the Mediterranean and Southeast Asian regions, the archaeologists believe.

    Meanwhile, archaeological studies on semi-precious stone beads and other artefacts discovered in Wari-Bateshwar indicate people of this land had a rich history of craftsmanship as old as around 2,500 years.
     
  6. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Archaeologists discover blocked passage in 800-yr-old well
    New Delhi, PTI:

    Residents in the capital's Nizamuddin area are only too aware of the deep well in their midst, but were amazed when the 800-year-old 'Baoli' with seven streams was found to be connected with a blocked passage.

    The Baoli with seven live streams and the blocked passage came to light when archaeologists were carrying out conservation work at the well near the Nizamuddin dargah in South Delhi area.

    Archaeologists said that the blocked passage may have been used by the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya to access the baoli from the near-by mosque. He had constructed the well in 1321-22.

    The water of the well, which is the only baoli in Delhi with underground springs, is considered holy by pilgrims, Ratish Nanda, Project Director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, said.

    The conservation works at the baoli were carried out as part of 'Humayun's Tomb -- Sunde Nursery -- Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti Urban renewal' project by the Archaeological Survey of India, Aga Khan Trust for Culture in partnership with CPWD and MCD.

    The baoli collapsed in July 2008 and repairs were started after the water was drained out through generators.

    "A detailed laser scan of the baoli was carried out as well as an exhaustive ground penetrating radar survey -- both of these were used in India for conservation for the first time," Nanda said.

    For the 18 families occupying the terrace of the baoli, alternate plots are being provided by MCD.

    "Further as part of the rehabilitation process, we would be working with these affected families and local NGOs to ensure smooth transition to a new area and an improvement of living standards for these families. The families have consented to be relocated," Nanda said.

    The project, which has conservation, environmental development and socio-economic development objectives, is being carried out at a cost of Rs one crore, out of which more than Rs 30 lakh has already been spent.

    Nanda said a dwelling unit over the collapsed portion needed to be dismantled and AKTC built an alternate unit of similar size.

    The passage over the collapsed portion is used by over 1,000 people everyday and had to be temporarily propped up and closed for three weeks, he added.

    Repair work, strengthening masonry by pointing with lime mortar is expected to be completed by August 2009.

    A filtration system will also be put in place to ensure water is cleaned of impurities.
     
  7. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Relic with traces of Jainism discovered

    6 May 2009, 0758 hrs IST, TNN
    Relic with traces of Jainism discovered - Mysore - Cities - The Times of India

    MYSORE: Archaeologists involved with excavations at historic Talakad village have found an inscribed stela which authenticates the existence of
    Jainism in the region.

    According to a press release issued by the archaeology department here, this inscribed stela with a Jain
    image dated to 978-79 AD was unearthed from already excavated Basadi site at Talkad. The inscription reads that sage Balachandramuni known for his unblemished character and quality attained heaven in 978 AD, the release says , adding that this "nishidige" was created by Kundana Somidevi.

    Archaeology director Gopal said this relic and inscription throws open a flood of information on several facets of Jain culture. Balachandramuni was the discpline of Maladharideva of Kondakundanvaya, Desigana and Pustakamnaya, and a great scholar.

    The release said the inscription reveals that Balachandramuni attained his heavenly abode after five days of fasting and Kundana Somidevi who erected this stela was the sister of King Nolamakulantaka Marasimha II (963-74 AD) . The inscription was written by scribe Immadi Perumadiachari Bahulavelenga.

    The release disclosed that Kundana Somidevi is none other than the lady who had gifted a beautiful Jain bronze image now preserved in Sharavanabelagola Jain mutt and she was the daughter of Ganga King Butuna III(940-63) and wife of Rajaditya of the Chalukya dynasty.

    Note said the carving of this stela is unique in the sense that it is designed and decorated like a small shrine having six essential arts of a shrine. The fagade has the relief of sage Balachandramuni in "Kayotsarga" posture between two pilasters.

    The team of archaeologists included M S Krishnamurthy, R Gopal and T S Gangadhara, ephigraphist H M Nagaraj Rao deciphered the inscription .
     
  8. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Archaeologists uncover remains of ancient empire in Jharkhand
    From ANI
    Archaeologists uncover remains of ancient empire in Jharkhand
    Bero (Jharkhand), May 11: A team of archaeologists unearthed the remains of an ancient empire in Bero region of Jharkhand.


    It was for the first time that concrete evidence of erstwhile Nagvanshi rulers, who once used to rule in the region, has been found by the archaeology department of the Jharkhand Government.

    The department is excavating the site of 'Khukhragarh', which is about 50 kilometres from Ranchi. Khukhragarh used to be the capital of the Nagvanshi rulers.

    The department has successfully excavated the remains of the dynasty's Khukhragarh Fort dating back to 12th century. The walls of the fort and other things are still intact giving hope to the archaeologists that they can explore further.

    According to the archaeologists working on the site, they have discovered an ancient temple while excavating.

    "We have found a temple complex, which was twice destroyed and was constructed again. We have found evidence for that. As far the date is concerned, it was reconstructed in the 14th century and in that favour we have coins of ancient 'Sultanate' period dating back to 14th century," said Harendra Prasad Sinha, Deputy Director, Department of Archaeology, Jharkhand.

    Efforts are also being made to trace the history of the place and information about Nagvanshi rulers.

    The information gathered from the nearby villagers, has also helped the archaeologists gain some insight into the history of the Nagvanshi rulers.

    "18 emperors of Nagvanshi ruled from Khukhragarh and the 18th ruler was King 'Bhim Karna' who shifted his capital from here," said Shiv Nath Sahu, a resident.

    The experts are excavating every part of the site meticulously and are confident of discovering the history of the whole region.

    Several precious coins, pottery and other remains have also been found which are a reminder of rich art and culture prevailing at that time. By Girija Shankar Ojha


    Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com
     
  9. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Evidence of pre-historic humans in Thanjavur
    The Hindu : Tamil Nadu News : Evidence of pre-historic humans in Thanjavur
    Special Correspondent

    THANJAVUR: Clear evidence of the existence of pre-historic humans in Thanjavur region has been identified in the archaeological excavations undertaken by Tamil University here.

    The excavations carried out in the past two weeks on the Tamil University campus revealed clinching evidence on the existence of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic cultures in stratified contexts.

    University chancellor M. Rajendran, who visited the excavation site, observed that these findings by the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology under the direction of V. Selvakumar of the department were significant and would shed new light on the way of life of prehistoric human beings.

    The excavations were carried out under the major research project titled “Landscape Archaeology of Prehistoric cultures of Southern Tamil Nadu,” funded by University Grants Commission, said a University press release issued here on Friday.

    The excavations revealed two cultural phases, namely, Palaeolithic and microlithic. The Palaeolithic artefacts consisted of scrapers and flake tools.

    They were found in the laterite rock surface below a sterile layer that underlies the layer that produced Mesolithic artefacts and this signified the chronological gap between these two cultures.

    It is important to note that such stratigraphic evidence was found in Thanjavur region for the first time.

    The stratigraphic evidence suggests that the paleolithic culture could go back well over 10,000 years and efforts are on to get scientific dates.

    The evidence of using microlith tiny stone tools such as scrapers, triangles and points made of quartz suggest that Mesolithic people led a hunter-gatherer way of life about 10,000-3000 years ago. These people did not have the knowledge of pottery or metal implements.
     
  10. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    2,000-YEAR-OLD CAVES FOUND IN RAIGAD

    Reporter
    Thursday, May 14th, 2009 AT 1:05 PM
    Tags: Raigad, Buddhist, caves, archaeology, ancient, Sanskrit
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    2,000 YEAR OLD CAVES FOUND IN RAIGAD
    An ancient cave found in Raigad district during exploration by the Deccan College, Pune



    Seven new Buddhist caves have been found at Dhondse and Bahirampada villages in Pali taluka of Raigad district, by the archaeology department of Deccan College here, according to a lecturer in history of ancient India and Sanskrit, Shrikant Ganveer.

    The caves were found during exploration around and study of the 60 caves at Thanale and Nenawali in Raigad district.

    The caves were built approximately between second century BC and second century AD, according to experts.

    Ganveer said, “Two caves at Dhondse are located in a dense forest, and so they have been spared the effects of the destructive ways of human beings and the nature. One of them is a ‘vihar’ type of cave used as a place of worship as well as residence. The other is an incomplete ‘chaitya-griha,’ which is a big prayer hall with a ‘stoopa’ within or close to it.”

    The caves show an uncanny resemblance to the group of caves at Junnar.

    The newly-found caves find no mention in the work of British archaeologists James Burgess and Henry Cazins, nor have they been recorded in the annual survey reports (from 1947 to 2008) of the Archaeological Survey of India.

    The new caves do not have any type of ornamental effects. Nor do they have any inscriptions.

    The chaitya griha-type cave shows that the work had just begun to carve out a ‘stoopa.’ It also has a section for Buddhist monks.

    The ‘vihar’ type cave has seats carved on both sides.

    On the way to Thanale caves, ten steps have been carved into the rock. These were probably used by pilgrims, traders and monks 2,000 years ago.

    There are two water tanks near the steps, which would prove vital to travellers.
    The exploration was carried out under the guidance of the joint director of the Deccan College Dr Vasant Shinde.
     
  11. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    5th century artefacts discovered in West Bengal
     
  12. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Tamil-Brahmi script found in village

    Tamil-Brahmi script found in village

    T.S. Subramanian

    Pointer to how writing followed commerce in Tamil country

    CHENNAI: A largely intact piece of pottery with a significant inscription in Tamil-Brahmi and the symbol of a gem or bead was found this week from a burial site at Porunthal village on the foothills of the Western Ghats.

    Epigraphists have deciphered the three Tamil-Brahmi letters on the ring-stand as “vayra,” which means diamond. The deep-set cist-burial, which has two compartments made of granite slabs, was found to have skeletal remains. A pair of stirrups lay next to the ring-stand.

    K. Rajan, Head of the Department of History, Pondicherry University, who directed the excavation, about 12 km from Palani in Tamil Nadu, called the discovery of Tamil-Brahmi script “very important” because it had been found in a remote village and goes to show that literacy had spread to even far-flung villages during the early Christian era. On palaeographical grounds, the script could be dated between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., he said.

    The cist-burial also yielded thousands of tiny, beautiful beads of different varieties such as carnelian, steatite, quartz and agate, four-legged jars, vases, bowls, plates, iron arrow-heads and so on.

    Excavation at a site 2 km away yielded thousands of beads and the remnants of the furnace where the beads were possibly made. Terracotta figurines of a humped bull and a man, and a square copper coin of the Tamil Sangam Age, were also found.

    Trade route link


    Iravatham Mahadevan, a scholar in the Tamil-Brahmi and Indus scripts, described it as “a great discovery” because it established that writing followed commerce. Porunthal lay close to a major, ancient trade route from Madurai, capital of the Pandya country, to Chera country in present-day Kerala. He said the script could be read as “vayra.”

    The symbol that followed the three Tamil-Brahmi letters showed an etched gem and bead, with a thread coming out of the bead. According to Mr. Mahadevan, the script could be dated to the first century A.D. The grave belonged to a royal personage. Mr. Mahadevan said the site called for greater exploration and more allocation of funds from the Central Institute of Classical Tamil.

    Graffiti marks?


    Opinion is, however, divided on whether the three letters are in Tamil-Brahmi or they are graffiti marks. Dr. Rajan quoted Y. Subbarayalu, Head of the Department of Indology, the French Institute of Pondicherry, and epigraphist S. Rajagopal as saying they were graffiti marks. However, V. Vedachalam, retired senior epigraphist, Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, and S. Rajavelu, senior epigraphist, Archaeological Survey of India, agreed with Mr. Mahadevan that it was Tamil-Brahmi. Dr. Vedachalam said the symbol of the bead had been found on every pot found in the cist-burial.

    The cist is at the centre of a circle of boulders. It has two chambers, one in the northern direction and the other in the southern direction. The dividing slab has a port-hole. Both chambers yielded four-legged jars and pottery. The ring-stand, with the carved script on its surface, was placed at the centre of the northern chamber. Around the ring-stand were 22 beautiful, etched carnelian beads; inside were five more beads.

    This grave alone yielded 7,500 beads made of steatite, carnelian, quartz and agate. “These are the largest number of beads collected from any grave in Tamil Nadu,” Dr. Rajan said. Porunthal was an important bead-making centre. Another important find was 2 kg of well-preserved paddy inside a four-legged jar.

    Dr. Rajan added: “The occurrence of paddy in a 2000-year old grave reflects the agricultural potential of the period. The richness of the grave goods, the size of the chamber, the high level of rituals performed, the finding of the script, paddy and the stirrups point to the importance of the man who was buried there.”

    Students from four universities including Mangalore, Sri Venkateswara (Tirupati), Tamil (Thanjavur) and Pondicherry conducted the excavations in both places.

    The Hindu : Front Page : Tamil-Brahmi script found in village
     
  13. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Naga ancestral sites dated to 7th cent. AD
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    Dimapur, July 1 (MExN): For the very first time, five ancestral settlement sites within Nagaland have been scientifically investigated and the first results of the chronological age of the sites have been obtained, informed Dr.I.Anungla Aier Project Coordinator Anthropological Society of Nagaland, Kohima.
    It was informed that the research program launched in April 2007 was carried out under the aegis of the research project Cultural History, Ethnography and the Physical Characteristics of Nagas of Nagaland by the Anthropological Society of Nagaland, sponsored by the Department of Art & Culture, Government of Nagaland. “Given the broad objective, an interdisciplinary approach comprising of Folklore and Oral tradition, Archaeological exploration, Rituals and Festivals, and Physical/Morphological features of the Naga tribes were adopted”, stated the press note.
    The first phase of the project covered the tribes of Kohima, Phek, and Mokokchung Districts. The Folklore and Oral tradition, Symbolism of Rituals and Festivals, and the Physical features of the various tribes were documented. Based on the study of oral tradition and folklore of the tribes, five prominent ancient settlement sites considered as important centres of population dispersal were identified. An archaeological investigation was also carried out at the ancestral site at Chungliyimti, it informed.
    Archaeological excavations were conducted at four of the ancestral settlement sites in the second phase of the project. The archaeological investigation has revealed the dates of the sites extending back to as early as 7th cent. AD, the press note informed. The radiocarbon dates obtained from the Beta Analytic Inc., Miami, Florida and Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow from all the sites under excavation is a major breakthrough in the Archaeology of Northeast India.
    The Anthropological Society of Nagaland has also termed as significant the discovery of an early Neolithic cave site in the vicinity of Mimi village from the Naga Ophiolite Belt area in Kiphire District bordering Myanmar. Few Neolithic tools, ash deposits, cord marked potteries, animal bones, and a human burial were excavated from the limestone cave, it disclosed. An AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) date on the ash deposit obtained from the Beta Analytic Inc., Miami, Florida place the site within Circa Cal. BC 4460 − 4340. The team led by Dr. Tiatoshi Jamir and two other archaeologists Dr. David Tetso and Dr. Zokho Venuh who carried out the excavation has been conducting extensive exploration on the limestone caves since the early part of January this year.
    According to the archaeologists, the date is significant as far as the Neolithic sites of Eastern and Northeastern region are concerned as it further pushes back the beginning of the Neolithic in the region. Thus far, no Neolithic site of this antiquity has been reported from the Eastern and Northeastern region of India. Study on the ash deposits for identification of botanical remains, animal and human remains are currently underway and it is hoped that more scientific data on the cave evidence will come to light.
    The society was of the view that the Indo-Myanmar border is considered as an important corridor as far as human migrations are concerned. Further exploration and excavation will be concentrated in this current year of research to map out the distribution of inhabited cave sites. The results of scientific dates of the Naga ancestral sites so far dated are given herewith (in box). However, it is also to be noted that the results of few other samples from the sites of New Phor, Chungliyimti, Khusomi and Movolomi are still awaited.
     
  14. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions are the only record of old Tamil’

    T.S. SUBRAMANIAN

    Interview with scholar Iravatham Mahadevan.

    R. RAGU

    Iravatham Mahadevan: "It is a tragedy that cave inscriptions are being vandalised."

    IRAVATHAM MAHADEVAN, an administrator-turned-scholar, has done acclaimed work on the Tamil-Brahmi and Indus scripts. His Early Tamil Epigraphy (From the Earliest Times to the Sixth Century A.D.), which was published in 2003, is the fruit of 40 years of dedicated work on Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. His earlier work Corpus of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions created a wave of exploration for Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. Mahadevan received the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970 for research on the Indus script and was awarded the National Fellowship of the Indian Council of Historical Research in 1992 for his work on Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. He has also authored The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables. He received the Padma Shri this year. Excerpts from an interview Mahadevan gave Frontline on Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and their place in history:
    Tamil-Brahmi sites near Madurai are facing destruction owing to granite quarrying in the hills in which they are found. The Jaina sculptures and beds situated adjacent to these are being vandalised. What is the relevance of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions in Indian history?

    Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions are important not only in the history of Tamil Nadu and the rest of South India but for the whole country. They have many unique distinctions. They are the oldest writings in any Dravidian language. They are also the oldest Jaina inscriptions in India. I believe that the Mankulam Tamil-Brahmi inscription of [Pandyan king] Nedunchezhiyan is older than the Karavela inscription at Udayagiri in Orissa.

    Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions are the only record of the old Tamil, the one prior to Sangam poetry. Many Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions are important landmarks in our history. For example, the inscriptions of Nedunchezhiyan at Mankulam, the Irumporai inscriptions at Pugalur near Karur and the Jambai inscription of Adhiyaman Neduman Anji link the Sangam age with the Tamil-Brahmi age. It is the Jambai inscription that prove that the “Satyaputo” mentioned by Asoka was none other than the Adhiyaman dynasty, which ruled from Tagadur, modern Dharmapuri.

    Recently, Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions have been found on hero stones in the upper Vaigai valley near megalithic graves, thus providing a link, for the first time, between the megalithic and the early historical periods of Tamil Nadu. The Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions occurring on coins, rings, potsherds and seals add another dimension to the history of Tamil Nadu. For example, the Pandyan coin of Peruvazhuthi or the silver portrait coins of Cheras. There are also numerous gold, silver and bronze rings of merchants and noblemen from the prosperous trading town of Karur of the Sangam age. Again, recently, excavations at Pattanam in Kerala have brought to light the remains of the ancient and famous Sangam age port of Musiri, known as Muziris to the classical historians of the West. These facts demonstrate the importance of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions to our history.

    It is, therefore, a great tragedy that the cave inscriptions of Tamil-Brahmi and Jaina sculptures [and beds] are being systematically vandalised by ignorant tourists and destroyed by granite quarries. It is impossible to stop quarrying because of vested interests and the money power and the muscle power at their disposal. Already, in my lifetime, many Tamil-Brahmi cave inscriptions have been lost or have been damaged severely. I understand from scholars undertaking recent field work that the destruction is now proceeding much faster. It is sad that the public are indifferent [to this], and the State government and the Central government are helpless to stop this wanton destruction of our cultural heritage. Perhaps all the Tamil-Brahmi cave inscriptions will disappear within a decade.

    The only consolation I have is that a serious attempt to record whatever remains by means of video photography and digitisation has been made by the classical Tamil project authorities. In Early Tamil Epigraphy: From the Earliest Times to the Sixth Century A.D., I had anticipated this disastrous development and I had pleaded for greater awareness of our cultural heritage and more purposeful steps for their conservation. What I did not expect was that the destruction would be so swift and so colossal. I can only shed tears at whatever has been lost as, frankly, I am not hopeful that whatever remains will be saved.
    Do you think there has been a dereliction of duty on the part of the Archaeological Survey of India and the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department?


    I do not think that the ASI or the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department has been effective in preventing the vandalism and destruction. I think that part of the problem is that the ASI and the Archaeology Department are headed by IAS officers who come and go at short intervals. They are not scholars and have little interest in the academic and intellectual work of the department under them. It is time the government of India and the State government recruited scholars of international repute by invitation to head the ASI and the State Archaeology Department for a fixed tenure.

    Personally, I think it is also tragic that the original estampages of thousands of inscriptions from Tamil Nadu are stored in the Epigraphy Branch of the ASI in Mysore, out of reach for researchers in the State. Originally, the office of the Government Epigraphist was at Udhagamandalam. Since the vast majority of inscriptions are in Tamil and in Tamil Nadu, the Epigraphy Branch of the ASI should have remained in Tamil Nadu. The State government did nothing to retain the office in Tamil Nadu. We can at least think of digitising the ink impressions available in Mysore and store them in Chennai, Tiruchi and Madurai for easy access to local scholars. There is very little coordination between the Archaeology Department and the universities, especially in Tamil Nadu. A recent, glaring example is that the ASI, while excavating at Adichanallur, claimed to have discovered a Tamil-Brahmi pottery inscription of antiquity. But no epigraphist from Tamil Nadu outside the Archaeology Department was allowed access to it. I am now told that the inscription never existed or has disappeared. There is no other recorded instance of Tamil-Brahmi inscription being found but erased owing to exposure to atmosphere if that indeed is the case.

    What steps should be taken to protect the Tamil-Brahmi sites?

    Just as sand quarrying is destroying the water wealth, granite quarrying is destroying the cultural wealth of Tamil Nadu. I am not hopeful, considering the money involved, that anything can be done to stop the destruction in either case in the near future. To tell you the truth, I don’t believe anything will be done.

    The small Jaina community in Tamil Nadu is unhappy that the ancient Jaina cave inscriptions are being destroyed but they are powerless to stop it as the number of Jainas in the State is so small that they do not command enough votes… You have pricked my conscience.
     
  15. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    ASI hardly gets enough funding to reasonably maintain the top ten heritage sites in the country and this is a country teeming with thousands of ancient,but rapidly fading,ancient heritage sites.Dwaraka and Poompuhar are probably ancient India's two greatest cities,and archaeologically speaking still extant.While some work ,that too recently,have been done on Dwaraka,little has been done towards excavating Puhar.

    A thorough excavation of known Puhar underwater sites will perhaps reveal more information on Old Dravida history than any cave inscription.....Oh who cares
     
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  16. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Cave similar to Bhimbetka found in MP

    Madhya Pradesh Archaeological Department has found a rare one-km-long cave in Raisen district similar to the famous world heritage site Bhimbetka, which is home to rare rock paintings.

    The one-km-long cave has been identified as "Mrigendranath Cave" near Patni village in Raisen district, about 80 km away from Bhimbetka, an official release said here today.

    Minister for Culture and Public Relations along with Secretary Culture Manoj Shrivastava and Commissioner Archaeology, J L Malpani visited the spot by walking for nearly three km from Patni village to reach Mrigendranath cave.

    The cave's entry is so narrow that only one person at a time can enter it by virtually crawling, but once inside it is a huge and long cave having images of various deities, it said.

    On entering inside one encounter the image of Hanuman and feet of Lord Shiva carved neatly carved on a stone, the release said.

    The government is planning to develop the spot as a major tourist attraction by launching a preservation and beautification drive.
    HindustanTimes-Print
    © Copyright 2009 Hindustan Times
     
  17. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Ancient caves battle neglect
    Bella Jaisinghani , TNN 13 July 2009, 02:15am IST
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    MUMBAI: Is nothing sacred, wonders heritage activist Sharada Dwivedi while mourning the plight of the Buddhist Magathane Caves that were
    rediscovered by fellow historian Anita Rane-Kothare two years ago.

    Members of a political party called Rane-Kothare's husband on Saturday in a bid to persuade her to roll back her activism in the caves' precinct. "But I will not be deterred, because I am fighting for a cause,'' Rane-Kothare said.

    Already buried under a slum colony and now under threat of being reduced to rubble by construction activity, the Magathane Caves do not figure on the list of monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). In fact, an ASI official who was unaware of their existence felt that Rane-Kothare actually meant Mahakali in Andheri, not Magathane in Borivli.

    Dwivedi was part of a special committee that had studied four historic caves in Mumbai after a PIL demanded their protection last year. It may be recalled that a plea by NGO Janhit Manch had prompted the Bombay high court to order the clearing of encroachments at four cave sites managed by the ASI. "We are already destroying our recent 19th and 20th-century heritage. Can we not spare at least those monuments that date back thousands of years and are a part of our collective consciousness,'' Dwivedi asks.

    Activists who have taken up the cause of cave sites, like at Magathane, Jogeshwari, Mahakali, Mandapeshwar and Kanheri, are usually thwarted by a combination of political interference and a philistine administration.

    Spotting opportunity in local resentment, politicians of every colour organised a protest march against the proposed eviction at Jogeshwari Caves, which is most densely covered by human habitation. They physically hemmed in the then ASI chief G Narasimhan and made him acquiesce to a survey to "determine illegal settlers''.

    Over a year later, the survey is complete and Narasimhan no longer holds the fort. ASI has a new chief, Madan Singh Chauhan, who took over on July 1, and is familiarising himself with the list of monuments under his care.

    An ASI official said, "The legal machinery is moving to clear the Jogeshwari Caves, for these are the worst affected. Because the encroachments all came up before 1992, the 100-metre boundary stipulated under ASI guidelines does not apply to them. The advisory committee has recommended a minimum intervention area of 30 metres, so all structures within this limit only will be removed.'' If the day comes, the monument may be surrounded by a garden patch, but will still have slums at a distance of 30 metres.

    Jogeshwari

    A series of bumps upon the forehead of these caves was once a detailed carving of Lord Shiva's marriage with Parvati. Of course, this 6th century monument has been steadily defaced by encroachment, neglect and misuse. Believed to be the hideaway of the Pandavas during their exile, the Jogeshwari caves are now home to 40,000-odd settlers who discharge effluents into its six holy temples through the year but steadfastly come to worship on Mahashivratri day.

    Mahakali

    Fenced away from encroachers, this Buddhist cave nevertheless must be continuously protected from hutments that come up along the boundary. It is relatively well preserved.

    Hewn from the same rock as Jogeshwari, this Buddhist cave, also called Kondivite, is believed to have been carved between the first century BC and the 6th century AD. Its Chaitya wall is built in the manner of Emperor Ashoka's Sudama cave in Bihar, and the cave has a stupa and a hemispherical dome.

    Kanheri

    By far the least troublesome in terms of encroachment, Kanheri remains a picnic spot and tourist attraction. Historian Anita Rane-Kothare points out that Kanheri was the biggest university in western India during its heyday-from the first century BC to the 11th century AD. It is the single largest Buddhist site in the country, she adds. No less than 120 caves have been discovered, and many more treasures perhaps lie in wait. The complex has cemeteries, stupas and Chaitya halls.

    Mandapeshwar

    Located in the belly of the IC Church in Borivli, these Shaivite caves have begun to be cleared. Shops that border it are being made to relocate, and a small garden is being designed in front. This cave, which houses a small temple to this day, was also built in the 6th century.
     
  18. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    The Week | Unfolding the Harappan mystery
    Special "Trade and Export Zones" in Harappa. Quoting the excerpts here:
    With each discovery, the Harappan mystery seems to be getting “curiouser and curiouser”. Recent excavations at Gujarat sites and studies suggest that more than 4,500 years ago, they might have set up observatories to study the heavens, traded far and wide, and even had special export zones...

    ...The two circular structures in the bailey, found amidst a cluster of typically Harappan rectangular ones, have long baffled archaeologists. It was generally assumed that the circular ‘rooms' were of late Harappan period, built over the ruins of middle (mature) Harappan structures. But Vahia and Menon have discovered reasons to suspect that it is a 4,000-year-old observatory.
    The bailey has an inclination that corresponds to the latitude of the place. Therefore, “viewed from the south, it would point to the point in the sky where all stars are circumpolar.” Secondly, while the whole layout of the city is 6 degrees to the west of north, the two studied structures have openings in exact north and exact west, which are cardinal directions. Vahia and Menon simulated the structure for response to solar geometry for the latitude of Dholavira. They found that the image cast by a hole in the assumed ceiling of the structures coincided with important points within the structure. “Hence important days of the solar calendar could easily be identified by analysing the image inside the room,” suggests the study...

    ...Recent diggings at Shikarpur in Gujarat, about 200km south of Dholavira, by archaeologists from M.S. University, Vadodara, have revealed the existence of a chert collection and processing centre...

    ...The most fascinating find perhaps has been the Rohri chert blades. Fascinating because the material is not local but native to Rohri, situated on the Indus basin in modern Pakistan. The question, then, is: did the Harappans use Shikarpur as a special manufacturing and export zone? They brought the raw material all the way from Rohri, which is hundreds of kilometres away, made finished products out of them in their factories, and then exported the products to several parts of the so-called Harappan empire.
    Finished chert blades have been found in several places across the ‘empire', but few production centres have been spotted. Shikarpur, on the other hand, has revealed raw material as well as the product in different stages of production....

    ...The location of the Shikarpur site is also interesting. About 35 kilometres to the north is Kanmer, excavated earlier by the archaeology department of Rajasthan. About 20 kilometres to the southwest is Gola Dhoro (Bagasra), and about the same distance farther is Kuntasi. Bagasra was a production centre of bead and shell bangles.
    So every 20-25 kilometres there were fortified sites, forming a string of industrial townships. If Lothal indeed was a port, as could be deduced from the ‘dockyard', were the exported wares sourced from these towns?

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
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  19. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    24 monuments are "missing"

    A survey by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found that 24 monuments are untraceable, while 12 monuments have submerged under reservoirs the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.
     
  20. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Anybody checked the British Museum?
     
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  21. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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