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ASI unearths treasure at U.P. site

Coffins inside the burial chambers at the excavation sites in Sanauli.

Coffins inside the burial chambers at the excavation sites in Sanauli.  

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4,000-year-old rice, dal, sacred chambers and coffins found in Sanauli

The Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) ongoing excavation of 4,000-year-old burial sites in Uttar Pradesh’s Sanauli has unearthed underground “sacred chambers”, decorated “legged coffins” as well as rice and dal in pots and animal bones buried with the bodies, ASI Institute of Archaeology director S.K. Manjul said on Tuesday.

The excavation in the Baghpat district of U.P. was first started in 2018 and resumed in January this year, Dr. Manjul said, adding that the process of listing and preservation at the site was on at the moment.

He said three chariots, some coffins, shields, swords and helmets had been unearthed, pointing towards the existence of a “warrior class in the area around 2,000 BCE”.

“As an excavator, I think this is different from Harappan culture. It is contemporary to the last phase of the mature Harappan culture. These findings are important to understand the culture pattern of the Upper Ganga-Yamuna doab. We found copper swords, helmets, shields and chariots,” said Dr. Manjul.

The excavators have found rice and urad dal in pots, cattle bones, wild pig and mongoose buried along with bodies, he said.

“These may have been offered to the departed souls. We also found sacred chambers below the ground. After the procession, they put the body in the chamber for some treatment or rituals,” he said.

Right now, the ASI is in the process of carrying out DNA, metallurgical and botanical analysis of samples and ground penetrating radar survey of the site, Dr. Manjul said.

Largest necropolis

While Dr. Manjul said he felt the site was different from the Harappan culture, an ASI statement on the excavation said: “Sanauli is located on the left bank of the River Yamuna, 68 km north-east of Delhi which brought to light the largest necropolis of the late Harappan period datable to around early part of second millennium BCE”.

In one of the burial pits, the excavators found a wooden legged coffin that was decorated with steatite inlays with a female skeleton, the ASI said. The pit also contained an armlet of semiprecious stones, pottery and an antenna sword placed near the head.

Another area of the site included remains of four furnaces with three working levels and the “overall ceramic assemblage has late Harappan characters”, the ASI statement said.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 12:54:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/asi-unearths-treasure-at-up-site/article26996341.ece

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