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Wooden block excavated at Dwaraka

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HISTORY UNEARTHED: The wooden block retrieved from a submerged structure in the near-shore region of the Arabian Sea at Dwaraka in Gujarat.
HISTORY UNEARTHED: The wooden block retrieved from a submerged structure in the near-shore region of the Arabian Sea at Dwaraka in Gujarat.

T.S. Subramanian

ASI says the discovery will help in dating several such submerged structures there

  • Structures known for the last 40 years
  • Differences over antiquity

    CHENNAI: An in situ wooden block retrieved on April 30 from a submerged circular stone structure off Dwaraka in Gujarat will help in dating several such structures there, according to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The date has been a matter of debate for the past 40 years.

    The block was found at a depth of two to three metres in the near-shore region southwest of the Samudra Narayan temple by the ASI's Underwater Archaeology Wing (UAW).

    Alok Tripathi, Superintending Archaeologist, UAW,who led the excavation, said: "The discovery of this wooden block is of great importance because these submerged stone structures are known for the past 40 years. But no material was available from these structures, which can be dated. Stones cannot be easily dated. Dates given earlier were based on different interpretations."

    The block, made of local beach wood, would be sent for carbon-14 dating and "it will give the final date for the submerged structures at Dwaraka," said Dr. Tripathi, a trained diver as well.

    The ancient town of Dwaraka was submerged in the Arabian Sea and the structures were noticed 40 years ago.

    The UAW, after extensive fieldwork and analysis of earlier research, started excavations simultaneously on land (near the Dwarakadish temple) and in the sea from January 1. They were conducted with the objective of knowing the antiquity of the site in a holistic manner, based on a scientific study of the material evidence available. Several sunken structural remains were found by the archaeologists and Navy divers. They were cleaned and documented.

    Archaeologist P. Pradhan supervised the work and Y.D. Sharma did the documentation.

    It was found that the circular structure was made of stones but its lowermost portion was made of wood. Dr. Tripathi, who went down in the shallow waters and studied the technique of joining the blocks, said: "The blocks were joined so well with the help of wooden dowels and nails that they remained in situ despite heavy surf and strong currents for a long period."

    The excavation on land yielded 60 copper coins, animal figurines of terracotta, sculptural fragments, bangles made of shell, bone and glass, beads made of stone and terracotta, plain and painted potsherds and so on. The coins are being cleaned to study the engravings on them and to date them (The Hindu, February 23, 2007). Dwaraka is traditionally associated with Lord Krishna. It was also a port and is, therefore, an important site from the archaeological point of view.


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