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About discoveries that confirm the Vedic view of history

Posts Tagged ‘Indian history’

Bihar stupa could contain Buddha relics

Posted by Stephen Knapp on February 11, 2012

February 11, 2012

By IANS,
Patna : The Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) is set to begin excavation of a newly-found ancient stupa that was badly damaged and has been lying neglected for centuries in Bihar’s Begusarai district, an official said Saturday.
 
The Patna circle of the ASI has identified the location of the stupa at Harsai near Garhpura village. Archeaologists here believe that it could be one of the eight original stupas built to house the relics of Lord Buddha.
 
“Going by the physical appearance of the stupa and the use of mud lumps denotes that it could be one of the eight original stupas housing the Buddha’s corporeal relics. But that can be determined only after excavation,” the superintending archaeologist of ASI (Patna circle) S K Manjul said.
 
According to ancient scriptures, after the Buddha was cremated, there was a disagreement over the division of his remains. They were then divided into eight parts and distributed among the eight powerful kingdoms and republics, which laid claim over them. All of them buried their share of relics in stupas specially built to serve as markers of the physical presence of the Buddha and his teachings.
 
Till date archaeologists have identified six of them. “If this stupa turned to be seventh, it can be the ASI’s biggest discovery,” he said.
 
Manjul said the ASI plans to start the excavation in the next few months this year. “The ASI’s central advisory board of archaeology has already granted an excavation license to an archeaologist of ASI’s Patna circle to undertake the work,” Manjul said.
 
According to ASI officials here, the stupa may also turn out to be the only one, which emperor Ashoka could not open to take out the relics for distribution over the Indian sub-continent.
 
This stupa is made of sun-dried clay lumps and fixed with mud mortars and later strengthened with layers of gravel and burnt bricks. It is currently in a bad shape. The stupa is threatened by local resident, who are minning it for clay.
 
“Some local people have damaged a part of it to extend the agriculture fields.The stupa is lying neglected as it is unprotected till date,” he said.
 

  • HARSAI STUPA (Herson)

    (86˚10’40”/25˚36’20”)
    Harsai
    Manjhaul
    20 Kms North from Begusarai district headquarters.
    Stupa
    Archaeological Site
    Only one smaller Stupa of southern part seems to be intact due to thick vegetation cover. The main stupa has been cut almost to half.
    Diameter – 110 m
It consist of four stupas having the largest in the centre and there equidistant smaller in three directions, one each in the west, north and south. The completely clay built stupa use to have a hard outer most surface built by bricks-dust etc. (surkhi)This Bajralepit’ stupa consists of a three strate architectures. ‘Mahavansh’ has reference of such stupas. The finding of such remarkable stupa is significant for the history of the region. It must be seen in the contexet of Buddha’s visit to Anguttarap as referred in the “Majjhim Nikaya”.

http://www.begusaraiheritage.com/pages/imparc3.html

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‘First astro observatory’ of Harappan Civilisation found in Kutch

Posted by Stephen Knapp on February 10, 2012

Tue Feb 07 2012, 01:57 hrs

Mumbai : A group of scientists has identified two circular structures at Dholavira in Kutch district of Gujarat, which they say is the first identification of a structure used for observational astronomy during the Harappan Civilisation. The discovery by M N Vahia from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Srikumar Menon from Manipal School of Architecture and Planning (Karnataka) is crucial, say scientists, as it is the first direct indication of intellectual capacity of people in the context of the civilisation and their relation to astronomy.“It is highly implausible that such an intellectually advanced civilisation did not have any knowledge of positional astronomy. These (structures) would have been useful for calendrical (including time of the day, time of the night, seasons, years and possibly even longer periods) and navigational purposes apart from providing intellectual challenge to understanding the movement of the heavens,” said the paper titled ‘A possible astronomical observatory at Dholavira’ to be published in the forthcoming edition of Man and Environment.

Vahia said Dholavira, assumed to be an island at that time, is almost exactly on the Tropic of Cancer and was an important centre of trade. “Hence, keeping track of time would be crucial to the city. So far, there had been no positive identification of any astronomy-related structure in any of the 1,500-odd sites of the Harappan Civilisation known today. The two structures identified by us seem to have celestial orientations inbuilt into their design. So, we have concluded that the two rooms in the structure were meant for observations of the sun,” he said.

He said the discovery will enable scientists to measure the intellectual growth of people of the Harappan Civilisation. It could give valuable insights on how the mentalities of the civilisation developed, in what ways they used the astronomical data to conduct business, farming and other activities.

The scientists simulated, what is now left of the two rooms, for response to solar observations and have concluded that important days of the solar calendar could easily be identified by analysing the image inside the room.

The simulations were conducted for summer and winter solstice. The study says the narrow beam of light from the entrances would also enhance the perception of the movement of the sun over a year.

“The interplay of image and its surrounding structures seem to suggest that the structure is consistent with it being a solar observatory to mark time. The west-facing circle has two flanking walls outside the exit, whose shadow touches the entrance on winter and summer solstice. The two square well-like structures at the southern end would provide an excellent location to observe zenith transiting stars even in the presence of city lights,” says the study.

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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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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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