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Eight eras of Indian history unearthed in Bangarh

Balurghat, May 13: Seventy years after excavation began at Bangarh, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) claims to have unearthed artefacts that date back to eight periods of Indian history starting from 500BC.

The superintendent of the ASI’s Calcutta circle, Tapan Jyoti Baidya, said the artefacts dated back to the pre-Mauryan, Mauryan, Sunga, Kushana, Gupta, post-Gupta and the Pala period. “Even there are evidences of remains belonging to the Muslim rule in India.”

The excavation by the ASI’s Calcutta circle began in February and its first phase was completed on May 10. Yesterday, Baidya revealed the findings at a media conference at Bangarh, 45km from here. The district magistrate of South Dinajpur, Ashok Kumar Banerjee, and the superintendent of police, Swapan Banerjee Purnapatra, were present.

Baidya said Bangarh, spread over 1,200 acres, had thrown up a rich historical past in just three months of excavation at the site located on the banks of the Punarbhaba. “The constructions here were 2,500 years old. We have verified the artefacts found here with those from other sites (of the same period) to come to our conclusions.”

The ASI, which is currently working on 400 acres of the site, will renew its investigations after the monsoons and resume excavations in November, Baidya said. “This is a very significant site as far as the ancient history of India is concerned. All these years, they have been lying buried deep in the ground,” he added.

Coins, stone idols, seals pieces of pottery and utensils used by the ancients and ornaments have been collected from the site. “The artefacts and the writing on the seals are so typical of the periods we have mentioned that it is easy to put a stamp to them. This place will give new insight into the history of the old civilisations. We have also evidences that Bangarh had links with the ancient Greeks and other European civilisations,” Baidya said.

The excavation in Bangarh was started in 1938 by a team from Calcutta University led by noted historian K.B. Goswami and the work continued till 1941. During that time, Mauryan seals were found. In 2007, the ASI’s Patna circle took up the digging but carried it out only for two months.

“We have unearthed 14 towers and also found the evidence of an elaborate drainage system as well as a water supply system. A unique town lay under this place,” Baidya said.

The ASI also plans to construct a museum and a garden on a plot of five acres in Bangarh for showcasing the artefacts found at the site.

The district magistrate said the revelation would bring historians and researchers to the area and boost the tourism potential.

The secretary of the Bangarh Archaeology Society, Partha Sarathi Moitra, said artefacts were found throughout the district whenever a place or pond was dug up. “It shows that the entire area has a number of places of historical and mythological importance. If all these areas are developed, it will be a tourist circuit.”

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