Vedicarcheologicaldiscoveries's Weblog

About discoveries that confirm the Vedic view of history

Ancient Chola period temple unearthed in North Jaffna

Posted by Stephen Knapp on March 18, 2010

Special corr., Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A heap of ruins where a Hindu temple of Chola period was believed to have been buried has been unearthed in the Northern part of Delft. The temple is 40 feet long and 10 feet wide. It is built with lime stone. The roof is covered with lime mixed plaster. The other parts of the temple are in ruins. Professor P. Pushparatnam of the Jaffna University History Department commenting on the findings, said the people of the locality are unable to say when this temple was built. The ruins indicate that the building would have been built many years ago. It is opined that if this temple had been built during the latter period of the Dutch reign or in the beginning of British rule in Sri Lanka, the people would be in a position to give some clues about the origin of the temple, he said. The people of the area would not have allowed the temple to go to ruin if it had been built during the Dutch or British period. It can be surmised that the temple was built before European rule in Sri Lanka, Prof. Pushparatnam said. The statues and the art work on stones, irrigation pipes made of baked clay and a coin found by one of Prof. Pushparatnam’s students with the name of Rajaraja Cholan embossed on it clearly indicate that the temple would have been built during the Chola period. http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/03/09/news12.asp

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Bronze-era Buddhist sites discovered

Posted by Stephen Knapp on March 18, 2010

        The Italian archaeological mission in Pakistan has discovered a large number of Buddhist sites and rock shelters in Kandak and Kota valleys of Barikot in Swat in the North West Frontier Province which depicted the carvings and paintings from the bronze and iron ages. “These are some of the finest and most fascinating ancient discoveries preserved in good condition,” said Director of the archaeological mission, Dr Luca Maria Olivieri, yesterday. These rock carvings depict agricultural cult scenes in red colours, cup marks meant for rituals, for example, for holding liquids or preparing the ochre pigment, dancing scenes, battle scenes and a large number of animals,” said Dr Olivieri.
 

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4,500-year-old Harappan settlement excavated in Kutch

Posted by Stephen Knapp on March 18, 2010

Ahmedabad, Mar 7, 2010 (PTI)
        A vast settlement surrounded by a fortified structure believed to be about 4,500 years old and belonging to the Harappan civilisation has been excavated at Shikarpur village in Kutch district.
        The team which has been excavating the site in Bhachau taluka of Kutch since last three years, is headed by Kuldeep Bhan and P Ajithprasad of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History of the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara.
        “A huge fortified structure made out of unbaked mud bricks has been excavated by our team. The ratio of height, width and length of the bricks is 1:2:4 which is what we call Harappan ratio,” Ajithprasad told PTI.
        “The fortification is spread over nearly one hectare area, with 10 m thick walls,” he said.
        “Though the exact period when this structure could have been constructed is yet to be ascertained, primarily it appears to be roughly 4500-years-old, built between 2500 BC and 2200 BC and is part of the Harappan civilisation,” Ajithprasad said.
        “The purpose of building such thick walls could be protection from natural calamities, external enemy or to impress upon other settlements,” he added. According to the professor, the fortification has an open space in the centre with small structures surrounding it. “The site is one quarter the size of the biggest Harappan site in the state located in Dholavira, Kutch and four times the size of another site of the same era in Bagasra,” Ajithprasad said. Situated on a mound locally known as Valmio Timbo (mound) measuring about 3.4 hectares, it is located 4.5 km south of Shikarpur village at the edge of the narrow creek extending eastward from the Gulf of Kutch. It is close to National Highway-15 connecting Kutch district with other parts of the state.
        “The site was earlier excavated from 1987 to 1989 by the Gujarat State Archaeology Department but details about it were not published and whatever little was published was inconclusive,” Ajithprasad said.
        Therefore, the site was taken up for re-excavation due to its strategic location and establish the cultural sequence as well as the settlement features in terms of economic activities, he added.
        During the three years of excavation, the site has revealed Harappan artifacts, especially ceramics and triangular terracotta cakes, spread rather evenly on the surface. In addition to the classical Harappan pottery, the surface assemblage included small amounts of regional pottery. Other sites of Harappan civilisation excavated in Gujarat include Kanmer in Kutch, Gola Dhoro (Bagasara), Nageshwar, Nagwada, Kuntasi in northern Saurashtra and Juni Kuran in northern Kutch.
 

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Ancient Hindu Temples Found in Indonesia

Posted by Stephen Knapp on March 5, 2010

Source: www.nytimes.com

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA, February 24, 2010: Last August when the private Islamic University of Indonesia decided to build a library next to the mosque. In the two decades the university had occupied its 79-acre campus outside Yogyakarta, no temple had ever been found. But chances were high that they were around. By Dec. 11, a construction crew had already removed nearly seven feet of earth. But the soil proved unstable, and the crew decided to dig 20 inches deeper. A backhoe then struck something unusually hard. The crack the backhoe left on the temple wall would become the main sign of damage on what experts say could be the best-preserved ancient monument found in Java, a Hindu temple.

Researchers from the government’s Archaeological Office in Yogyakarta headed to the campus the next day, excavated for 35 days and eventually unearthed two 1,100-year-old small temples. “The temples are not so big, but they have features that we haven’t found in Indonesia before,” Herni Pramastuti, who runs the Archaeological Office, said, pointing to the rectangle-shaped temple, the existence of two sets of linga and yoni, and the presence of two altars.

Historians believe that Hinduism spread in Java in the fifth century, followed three centuries later by Buddhism. Kingdoms hewing to both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs flourished in Java before Islam in the 15th century. But Islam itself incorporated beliefs and ceremonies from the other two religions. Just as some unearthed temples in east Java have a Hindu upper half and a Buddhist lower half, some early mosques had roofs in the shape of Hindu temples, said Timbul Haryono, a professor of archaeology at Gadjah Mada University here and an expert on Hinduism in Southeast Asia. Early mosques faced not in Mecca’s direction, but west or east in the manner of Hindu temples.

“Things didn’t change all of a sudden,” Mr. Haryono said. “Islam was adopted through a process of acculturation.” In Indonesia’s arts, like the wayang shadow puppetry that dramatizes Hindu epics, or in people’s private lives, traces of the earlier religions survive, he said. Food, flowers and incense still accompany many funerals for Muslims, in keeping with Hindu and Buddhist traditions. “Hinduism was Indonesia’s main religion for 1,000 years,” he said, “so its influence is still strong.” “This is Indonesia,” said Suwarsono Muhammad, an official at the Islamic University. In the long history of Indonesia, we have proven that different religions can live peacefully.”<!– for IE

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Evidence the People Existed 74,000 Years Ago in India

Posted by Stephen Knapp on February 25, 2010

‘Pompeii-like’ excavations in India tell us more about Toba super-eruption
Science 23 Feb 10
Mapping of stone tool artefacts on a Middle Palaeolithic occupation surface under the Toba ash.
Newly discovered archaeological sites in southern and northern India have revealed how people lived before and after the colossal Toba volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago.
The international, multidisciplinary research team, led by Oxford University in collaboration with Indian institutions, unveiled to a conference in Oxford what it calls ‘Pompeii-like excavations’ beneath the Toba ash.
The seven-year project examines the environment that humans lived in, their stone tools, as well as the plants and animal bones of the time. The team has concluded that many forms of life survived the super-eruption, contrary to other research which has suggested significant animal extinctions and genetic bottlenecks.
According to the team, a potentially ground-breaking implication of the new work is that the species responsible for making the stone tools in India was Homo sapiens.  Stone tool analysis has revealed that the artefacts consist of cores and flakes, which are classified in India as Middle Palaeolithic and are similar to those made by modern humans in Africa. ‘Though we are still searching for human fossils to definitively prove the case, we are encouraged by the technological similarities. This suggests that human populations were present in India prior to 74,000 years ago, or about 15,000 years earlier than expected based on some genetic clocks,’ said project director Dr Michael Petraglia, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford.
This exciting new information questions the idea that the Toba super-eruption caused a worldwide environmental catastrophe.
Dr Michael Petraglia, School of Archaeology. An area of widespread speculation about the Toba super-eruption is that it nearly drove humanity to extinction. The fact that the Middle Palaeolithic tools of similar styles are found right before and after the Toba super-eruption, suggests that the people who survived the eruption were the same populations, using the same kinds of tools, says Dr Petraglia. The research agrees with evidence that other human ancestors, such as the Neanderthals in Europe and the small brained Hobbits in Southeastern Asia, continued to survive well after Toba.
Although some scholars have speculated that the Toba volcano led to severe and wholesale environmental destruction, the Oxford-led research in India suggests that a mosaic of ecological settings was present, and some areas experienced a relatively rapid recovery after the volcanic event.
The team has not discovered much bone in Toba ash sites, but in the Billasurgam cave complex in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, the researchers have found deposits which they believe range from at least 100,000 years ago to the present. They contain a wealth of animal bones such as wild cattle, carnivores and monkeys. They have also identified plant materials in the Toba ash sites and caves, yielding important information about the impact of the Toba super-eruption on the ecological settings.
Dr Petraglia said: ‘This exciting new information questions the idea that the Toba super-eruption caused a worldwide environmental catastrophe. That is not to say that there were no ecological effects. We do have evidence that the ash temporarily disrupted vegetative communities and it certainly choked and polluted some fresh water sources, probably causing harm to wildlife and maybe even humans.’ 

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Statue of Lord Shiva’s sacred bull found at site of ancient Hindu temple in Indonesia

Posted by Stephen Knapp on January 10, 2010

Jakarta, January 7 (ANI): Archaeologists have found a statue of Nandi, the sacred bull that carried the Hindu god Shiva, among the ruins of what is believed to be an ancient temple at an excavation site in Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
The discovery of the statue, which in Hindu mythology is said to embody sexual energy and fertility, meant that the team would now continue its work until Jan. 20, Indung Panca Putra, the head of the excavation team from the Yogyakarta Antiquities and Relics Conservation Agency, told The Jakarta Globe.
“The statue is exquisite. The sculpture is carved differently from other statues of Nandi. This one is not depicted as fat,” Indung said.
Previous discoveries at the site, which is located on the Indonesian Islamic University campus, include a statue of Ganesha, Shiva’s divine son; a linga , the symbol of worship for Shiva; and a yoni , a Hindu symbol for divine passage or birth.
“We strongly believe the temple had a roof and its pillars were made of wood or bamboo,” Indung said.
He said that archeologists were working under the assumption that the pillars had not been destroyed by a volcanic mudflow hundreds of years ago, but had instead been removed by people.
Indung said that the temple ruins were different from other temples found in Central Java.
“We have compared what we have found to what was found in the temples of Sambisari, Gebang and Kedulan. The comparisons have led us to believe that the material used for the temple and its statues were much harder and the sculptures are far more refined,” Indung said.
The first discovery at the site, the Ganesha statue on December 21, was made when the university was preparing to lay foundations for a new library.
Indung said that excavation machines uncovered rocks five-meters deep that resembled an ancient building complex.
The conservation team, consisting of four archaeologists and four engineers, has been working ever since to find other statues. (ANI)

http://www.sindhtoday.net/news/1/89532.htm

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Australian Aborigines of Indian Origin?

Posted by Stephen Knapp on July 23, 2009

14. Australian Aborigines of Indian Origin?

They Share Telltale Mutations With Modern-Day Indian Population, Reveals Genetic Research July 23, 2009 Washington: Genetic research conducted by a team of Indian scientists has indicated that aborigines, who initially arrived in Australia via south Asia, may have originated from India. 

     The evidence was found by Dr Raghavendra Rao, who worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India, to find telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines. 

    For the research, the team sequenced 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian ‘relic populations’. 

     “Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines,” said Rao. 

     This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called “Southern Route”. 

     The “Southern Route” dispersal of modern humans suggests movement of a group of hunter-gatherers from the Horn of Africa, across the mouth of the Red Sea into Arabia and southern Asia at least 50 thousand years ago. Subsequently, the modern human populations expanded rapidly along the coastlines of southern Asia, southeastern Asia and Indonesia to arrive in Australia at least 45 thousand years ago. 

     The genetic evidence of this dispersal from the work of Rao and his colleagues is supported by archeological evidence of human occupation in the Lake Mungo area of Australia dated to approximately the same time period. Discussing the implications of the research, Rao said, “Human evolution is usually understood in terms of millions of years. This direct DNA evidence indicates that the emergence of ‘anatomically modern’ humans in Africa and the spread of these humans to other parts of the world happened only fifty thousand or so years ago.”

      “In this respect, populations in the Indian subcontinent harbor DNA footprints of the earliest expansion out of Africa,” he added. “Understanding human evolution helps us to understand the biological and cultural expressions of these people, with far reaching implications for human welfare,” he added. ANI

 http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/getimage.dll?path=CAP/2009/07/23/17/Img/Pg017.png Australian Aborigines Initially Arrived Via South Asia ScienceDaily (July 21, 2009) — Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers have found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines. Journal reference: 1.                   Satish Kumar, Rajasekhara REDDY Ravuri, Padmaja Koneru, B P Urade, B N Sarkar, A Chandrasekar and V R Rao. Reconstructing Indian-Australian phylogenetic link. BMC Evolutionary Biology, (in press) [link] http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcevolbiol/

Reconstructing Indian-Australian phylogenetic link. Satish Kumar , Rajasekhara REDDY Ravuri , Padmaja Koneru , B P Urade , B N Sarkar ,A Chandrasekar  and V R Rao  BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:173doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-173

Published: 22 July 2009 Abstract (provisional) Background An early dispersal of biologically and behaviorally modern humans from their African origins to Australia, by at least 45 thousand years via southern Asia has been suggested by studies based on morphology, archaeology and genetics.

 However, mtDNA lineages sampled so far from south Asia, eastern Asia and Australasia show non-overlapping distributions of haplogroups within pan Eurasian M and N macrohaplogroups. Likewise, support from the archaeology is still ambiguous. Results In our completely sequenced 966-mitochondrial genomes from 26 relic tribes of India, we have identified seven genomes, which share two synonymous polymorphisms with the M42 haplogroup, which is specific to Australian Aborigines. Conclusions Our results showing a shared mtDNA lineage between Indians and Australian Aborigines provides direct genetic evidence of an early colonization of Australia through south Asia, following the “southern route”. Adapted from materials provided by BioMed Central, viaEurekAlert!, a service of AAAS. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721214628.htm

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1400-year-old Lakshmi Deity Found in J&K

Posted by Stephen Knapp on April 19, 2009

The Hindu [India], April 12, 2009

This shows the original and ancient Vedic connection that the area of Kashmir has always had. A rare granite sculpture of Goddess Lakshmi, believed to be 1,400 years old, has been found at Waghama village along the river Jehlum in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. The sculpture, that was found by the farmers a few days ago, has been taken in possession by the state Archives and Archeology department and its antiquity and artistic details are being studied, its Deputy Director Peerzada Mohammad Ashraf said on Sunday. He said the farmers stumbled upon the image when they were digging a field in Waghama-Bijbehara, 45 kms from here. They kept the image with them but some villagers tipped the local police who recovered it and handed it over to the archaeology department. The image is seven inches high and 4.5 inches wide and is seen as one of the most important findings of the year, Mr. Ashraf said.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200904121353.htm

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City archaeologists discover Harappan graves

Posted by Stephen Knapp on April 19, 2009

The Times of India, 9 Apr 2009

A team of archaeologists from the Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute is back from Haryana where they stumbled upon a record 70 Harappan graves at a site in Farmana, discovering the largest burial site of this civilization in India so far. It is an extraordinary archaeological finding. A big housing complex that matured during the Harappan era was discovered by these archaeologists who have been working in this little known village for the past three years. The archaeological team here uncovered an entire town plan. The skeletal remains belong to an era between 2500 BC to 2000 BC.

http://snipr.com/fo1ug

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New finds take archaeologists closer to Krishna

Posted by Stephen Knapp on January 3, 2009

India Times
27 Dec 2008, 0330 hrs IST, Bhama Devi Ravi, TNN

CHENNAI: The conch and the Sudarshana Chakra are unmistakable. Although the figures do not match popular images of Kirshna sporting a peacock feather, archaeologists are convinced that the coins are of Krishna, revered as an avatar of Vishnu.
“These square coins, dating back to 180- BC, with Krishna on one side and Balram on the other, were unearthed recently in Al Khanoun in Afghanistan and are the earliest proof that Krishna was venerated as a god, and that the worship had spread beyond the Mathura region,” says T K V Rajan, archaeologist and founder-director, Indian Science Monitor, who is holding a five-day exhibition, In search of Lord Krishna,’ in the city from Saturday.
Having done extensive research in Brindavan, Rajan is convinced that a lot of the spiritual history of ancient India lies buried. “Close to 10,000 Greeks, who came in the wake of Alexander the Great, were Krishna’s devotees. There is an inscription by Heliodorus, the Greek ambassador at Takshila , which reads Deva, deva, Vasudeva. Krishna is my god and I have installed this Garuda Pillar at Bes Nagar (now in Bihar),'” says Rajan.
According to him the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed many sites that throw fresh light on the era of Krishna. “ASI is expected to release the full findings next year. Many of the unearthed artifact have a close resemblance to materials of what is believed to be the Harappan civilization. The findings may show that Krishna’s life was the dividing line between India’s spiritual history and the society’s gradual shift towards a materialistic one,” says Rajan.
Interestingly, a lot of what has been uncovered closely resemble the narration in the texts of Mahabharatha and the Bhagavatham,” he adds. Both the spiritual works are revered by the Hindus as their holy books.
It has been over five years since the discoveries were made at Tholavira near Dwaraka, close to Kutch. Much progress has been made due to the application of thermoluminous study (TL) in ascertaining the age of artifact. “It is possible to get the diffusion of atomic particles in the clay pottery unearthed and arrive at an accurate date,” points out Rajan. Tholavira itself is believed to be the capital city as detailed in the opening chapters of Bhagavatham. Rajan points to an image of a plough, made of wood, which is mentioned in the Bhagavatham.
The findings could lay a trail to understanding Krishna’s life (said to be 5,000 years ago) and times, as a historical fact, says Rajan. The exhibition will be open till December 31 at Sri Parvathy Gallery, Eldams Road.

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