Tools and microliths found date back to 1200 BC
The University of Mysore’s museum of ancient history and archaeology will be home to recently excavated antiquities of the Satavahana period (1st century BC to 3rd century AD).
The treasure was found during excavations at Haluru near Anuvahahalli in Tarikere taluk of Chikmagalur district. They were done under the directions of N.S. Rangaraju, professor of Ancient History and Archaeology at the university.
Speaking to The Hindu, Prof. Rangaraju said around 800 antiquities were found during the four-month exercise, believed to be among the biggest taken up the varsity in recent years.
The finds included, to a numismatist’s delight, Roman coins and coins from the Satavahana period.
These, he said, would enrich the university museum at Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, which is a repository of nearly 8,000 artefacts collected from various excavations. However, they will be displayed only after submission of the interim report of the excavations to the Archaeological Survey of India. “The report may take up to six months, in view of the voluminous data collected by the team,” the professor said.
Prof. Rangaraju said that among the discoveries were tools and microliths from 1500 BC to 1200 BC, 20 neolithic polished stone axes, stone pots, and iron antiquities, all of which indicated a continuous human settlement near the excavation site.
The Satavahanas ruled the Deccan region and were followers of Buddhism. The cultural sequences unearthed during excavations indicated a continuous cultural settlement and offered an important insight into the history of Karnataka, he said.
Interestingly, stone weights of different sizes and shapes, and small vessels of terracotta and stone, indicated that the region might have been a popular herbal medicine manufacturing centre. “The local vegetation and the rich biodiversity lends credence to this theory. It is supported by a few botanists and retired Forest Department officials who visited the spot,” the professor said.
Sudarshan, from the university’s Department of Botany identified 14 plants of importance in herbal medicine, he added.
However, Prof. Rangaraju said, the excavation sites near agricultural land were in danger of being damaged because of extensive use of tractors. He called for their protection.
Assistant professor G. Kariappa, Head of the Department M.P. Mahadevaiah, 15 research students and 45 students pursuing their master’s degree took part in the four-month excavation exercise.
It was the eleventh major exploratory and excavation exercise conducted by the department since its inception 50 years ago.