| The skeleton finally emerges at Banga village in Raghurajpur gram panchayat. Telegraph picture |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 11: A human skeleton belonging to the Chalcolithic (copper stone) era has been measured, but experts are finding it difficult to lift it from the site for further studies.
The skeleton, discovered at an excavation site at Banga village in Raghurajpur gram panchayat on the outskirts of the city, measures 5 feet 7 inches.
A broken pot near the skeleton hints at a probable burial ground near the human settlement. The anthropologists and archaeologists working at the site, however, are finding it a challenging task to lift the skeleton from the site for further studies because of the fragile nature of the remains.
Several tribal communities in the state and the rest of the country still bury their dead near their dwelling areas.
“We hoped to lift the skeleton in parts by this evening, but we think that the work might take another two days or even more. Senior officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) visited the site and we discussed the problems with them this afternoon,” said Kishor Kumar Basa of the department of anthropology at Utkal University.
The skeleton will be taken out in pieces and send to the department of anthropology, Utkal University, and later, to the Pune-based Deccan College for reference and further analysis.
Some animal bones found at the site will be examined by P. Joglekar of Deccan College, as he is a leading expert in the field. The plant remains will be referred to a paleo-botany expert. However, the name of the expert is yet to be finalised.
“For the exact dating of the age of the artefacts recovered from the site, charcoal samples will be sent to the Birbal Sahani Institute of Paleobotany at Lucknow. The charcoal pieces will undergo radio carbon dating. Radio carbon dating determines the age of historical artefacts found at sites,” Basa said.
Other artefacts, such as earthen pottery and stoneware will be studied at the anthropology department, Utkal University.
“The excavation was done vertically. Through this we found out about the possible floors in the settlement and the type of houses the ancient people had built. But to know more about the site, we need an excavation spread over the entire area, which is called horizontal excavation. But this needs more funding,” said Basa.
Local residents have been supportive of the excavation team at the site. “Unlike popular belief, we have found that the local residents are actually interested In learning more about their ancient history and culture. This helped us a lot,” said Basa, who is also a former director with Indian Museum, Calcutta.
Prasanna Maharathi, sarpanch of Raghurajpur, said: “The findings made by these historians will not only project our area on the world historical map, it will also help in boosting tourism. Since the discovery of the skeleton, more than 6,000 people have visited the site so far.”
Archaeologists proposed that after the academic studies were made on the artefacts recovered from the site, the state government should build an on-site museum to boost tourism in the locality.