Odisha delta site is 3,600 years old

Remains reveal rural settlement with proto-sun worship, domesticated cattle

Updated - August 04, 2019 12:53 am IST

Published - August 03, 2019 10:29 pm IST

A mud wall structure is seen during the excavation at Jalalpur village of Cuttack district of Odisha.

A mud wall structure is seen during the excavation at Jalalpur village of Cuttack district of Odisha.

The Archaeological Survey of India, which had discovered ancient artefacts and grain during excavations at Bharati Huda in Jallarpur village in Odisha’s Cuttack district last year, said a rural settlement had thrived at the site about 3600 years ago.

The age of the settlement was arrived at after radiocarbon dating of charcoal samples found at the site by the Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) in New Delhi using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).

Separate group

“This excavation confirmed that a separate ethnic group that was using non-black-and-red ware might have existed during the early chalcolithic cultural horizon and a new class of ethnic group might have come into contact with the rural settlers at Bharati Huda during mature phase of chalcolithic culture,” Superintending Archaeologist of ASI’s excavation branch in Bhubaneswar D. Garnayak said on Saturday.

The IUAC report says the charcoal samples found in Layer three of the excavation dated backed to 1072 BCE, Layer 4 to 1099 BCE, Layer 5 to 1269 BCE and Layer 7 to 1404 BCE. Radiocarbon ages were calibrated using Oxcal software and median ages are utilized in this report. Scientific study of two more layers could push the age back by another 100 years.

Chocolate-slipped pottery

According to Mr. Garnayak, a new religious belief emerged in the form of nature worship as evident from a single specimen of the Sun motif found arrayed in chocolate-slipped pottery.

“On the basis of this evidence, we believe the antiquity of Sun worship dated back to 1099 BCE in the Prachi valley. Devotees from different parts of Odisha as well as the neighbouring States congregated at Chandrabhaga on the shore of the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of Magha Saptami to pay homage to Sun God,” he claimed.

The world famous Sun temple of Konark, located some 30 kilometres from the excavation, was built in the 13th century CE. The tradition of Sun worship seems to have evolved with human settlements in the region, Mr. Garnayak suggested.

“The excavated remains indicate existence of Chalcolithic culture in the valley as attested by the presence of mud structural remains, large quantity of potsherds, ground and polished stone tools, bone tools, beads of semi-precious stones, terracotta objects, huge quantity of faunal remains and carbonized grains. It was confirmed by the scientific dating done by IUAC, New Delhi,” he said.

Continuous settlement

“The material culture of the site gradually developed without major changes having continuation of earlier cultural features till it was abandoned. It’s like a flow of culture from incipient agro based settlement to full-fledged agricultural society. The site has cultural similarity with Golabai Sasan, Suabarei and other excavated and explored sites in the Mahanadi delta and partial similarity with the chalcolithic sites of middle Mahanadi valley and sites of central and eastern India,” he said.

According to the archaeologist, the inhabitants practised agriculture and animal husbandry as attested by the findings of domesticated variety of rice and jute and evidence of domesticated cattle among the faunal remains as well as terracotta bull figurine.

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