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Major plan to look down under

- Historical secrets wait for archaeological discovery
Artefacts excavated from Anlajodi in Puri district. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, March 1: The Archaeological Survey of India’s excavation branch in the city is carrying out major projects of exploration.

Initial findings at three sites look exciting and two significantly new projects were approved yesterday.

The right bank of the Daya river on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, known as the site of the historical Kalinga war, is being explored at the moment. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is studying the entire length of the river and the archaeologists are thrilled with the first round of findings from the spot.

“We explored three mounds along the river and have found elements of great significance. These include ring stones, blacksmith ware, bone fragments that appear such as tools, parts of shell crafts and jewellery. Most of them date back to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic age,” said Dillip Kumar Khamari, superintending archaeologist, excavation branch, Bhubaneswar.

“Deeper excavation of this region will be conducted soon,” he said.

The archaeologists also began an exploration last year at Anlajodi in Puri district and Deltihuda in Cuttack district. Here, they found terracotta and pottery fragments. Though at first look, the findings appear to be from an ancient era, further study will help gather more information, said an ASI officials.

“We have only done a primary examination so far and found many stone and clay articles and their pieces. The texture, size and shapes suggest that they could be of archaeological importance. There is a great potential in these sites, but we need to carry out a detailed analysis,” said an official. After the reports of the study are ready, approval for full-fledged excavation will be sought from ASI, New Delhi.

Another significant development is that director-general of ASI, New Delhi, Pravin Srivastava, who is on a visit to the city, has approved two interesting projects. These include a comprehensive excavation on all the sites under the themes “forts and military architecture” and “monuments, myths and mythology”.

“It has been only few months that I joined the Bhubaneswar branch and I have found great potential in Odisha for excavation. I have found out that almost every heritage site in the state is connected to ancient culture, traditions and thus myths and mythology. Hence, I proposed to begin extensive work on both tangible and intangible forms of heritage in the state,” said Khamari.

“Now that it has been approved, there will be a lot of exciting findings very soon,” he said. The fort and military theme based excavations will focus on Cuttack, Khurda and many parts of west Odisha in the first phase, said an official.