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Orissa to record moments from history

Bhubaneswar, July 13: Orissa is known to be a storehouse of sites, antiquities and monuments dating back to the Buddhist era as well as the period before and after that.

From tantric sites and sculptures to mosques, buildings, forts and many other monuments belonging to the Islamic and British reigns, there are countless repositories of tangible heritage that archaeologists are still unaware of.

A massive project to document these prehistoric and colonial objects and structures began in the state under the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA) last week. The project is being implemented throughout the state.

Launched in 2007 by the NMMA, the project is being carried out at a national level by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A team of young historians and archaeologists picked from all over the state through an examination, have been trained for the documentation of the heritage repository if the state.

“We have hired over 40 young trainees and given them a detailed training about how to proceed with the project. Since they would need to talk to people who have private collections of any kind of antiquity, they have also been given soft skills training,” said Sadasiba Pradhan, the state co-ordinator for the project.

Expected to take more than 10 months, the documentation project will include research, study and recording of the condition and location of the site, antiquity or monument including coins, sculptures, temples, mosques and more, along with its architectural features and present condition, Pradhan said.

“We will collect a database and send it to the ASI, which will now maintain a detailed record of all antiques so that no trafficking of sculptors or items can take place at any heritage site. The project also involves promoting awareness among masses as well as public participation at the grass root level about the importance of our cultural heritage,” he added.

The trainees will be visiting all 30 districts of the state for the purpose. Collections at the museums throughout the state will also be listed in the database.

“We have been trained to record any ancient or colonial item that comes our way. The huge private collection of palm leaf manuscripts will also be recorded during the documentation with details of the owners and their location,” said a trainee.

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