Bhubaneswar, Feb. 8: The remains of an adult human being who might have lived around 4,000 years ago have been found near Bhubaneswar, a discovery expected to throw light on the emergence of early farming communities in coastal Odisha.
A team of archaeologists and anthropologists found the skeleton on February 5 during excavations at a site south of Banga village near Harirajpur, around 15km from Bhubaneswar.
“The finding of skeletal remains of this kind is the second such occurrence in the state after Golabai. The skeleton of a child (without head) was found at Golabai (30km from Harirajpur) about 20 years ago. That site was excavated by the ASI,” said Kishore Kumar Basa, a professor of anthropology at Utkal University and one of the two team leaders.
R.K. Mohanty, a professor of archaeology at the Deccan College, Pune, is the other team leader.
Basa, a former director of Indian Museum, Calcutta, and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalay, Bhopal, said the skeleton found this week could be between 3,500 and 4,000 years old — the same period to which the skeleton of the child was dated.
It will be sent to the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow to ascertain its age through carbon dating, he said.
The chalcolithic (copper stone age) site has also yielded pottery, stone artefacts, animal bones, copper fragments and living areas indicative of an ancient habitation.
The artefacts bear close resemblance to the discoveries made by the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) at Golabai in the 1990s.
Superintending archaeologist, ASI, Bhubaneswar circle, A.K. Patel, said the discoveries made at Banga and Golabai showed the evolution of civilisation in Odisha till the fort settlement of Sisupalgarh came up in the 3rd century BC.
A pre-Mauryan settlement, Sisupalgarh harks back to one of the most glorious chapters in the history of the state. The ruins of the old fort town lie towards the southeast edge of Bhubaneswar.
“This excavation would throw light on the emergence of early farming communities, their settlements and exploitation of natural resources in coastal Odisha. This would also throw light on the phase of Odishan cultural history prior to the emergence of urbanisation at Sisupalgarh and such other sites which are dated to about 500 BC to about 600 AD,” Basa said.
“We expect more interesting revelations from the site as digging goes on,’’ he added.
Daitari Sahoo of Utkal University, Santanu Vaidya of Deccan College and eight Utkal students are working at the Banga site.