Experts to delve deep into Banga skeleton, artefacts

The human skeleton, believed to be 3,500 years old, has finally been lifted from the mound in Banga village in Jatni and brought to the Anthropology department of Utkal University for further studies.

Experts to delve deep into Banga skeleton, artefacts
Last week, a team led by Prof Kishore Kumar Basa of the department of Anthropology, Utkal University, and Prof R K Mohanty of Deccan College, Pune, stumbled upon the human skeleton dating back to nearly 3,500 years while undertaking excavations at a site south of Banga village near Harirajpu [Credit: New Indian Express]
Last week, a team led by Prof K Basa and Prof RK Mohanty of Deccan College in Pune had stumbled upon the skeleton. Some remnants of an ancient settlement, including charred animal bones, pottery, stone artefacts, plant materials, copper dust and living floors were also dug out from the spot.

Finding a skeleton is the second such occurrence in the State after Golabai. The skeleton of a headless child was found at Golabai 20 years ago by the ASI. “It is because the soil in this mound is alkaline, this 5.7 ft skeleton was preserved till date. Nowhere else in Odisha so far, human skeletons could be found even as several excavations have been carried out,” said Prof Basa.

Meanwhile, the Anthropology department of Utkal University has decided to send animal bones found at the site to Deccan College to be examined by Prof P Joglekar and the plant remains and artefacts to a paleo-botanist to ascertain the kind of cultivation that was taken up in the excavated settlement

“Charcoal samples will be sent to Birbal Sahani Institute of Paleobotany at Lucknow for C4 (carbon) dating to find out the exact age of the artefacts recovered from the site,” he  added.

The Director of Anthropology Survey of India, KK Mishra, had earlier said the institution will collect samples from the skeleton for ancient DNA analysis. This will help reconstruct the settlement history of Chalcolithic age in Odisha.

Other artefacts, such as pottery and stoneware will be studied at Utkal University. Residue analysis will be done on the pots that were excavated from near the skeleton.

The anthropologists, however, could not find any trace of the iron age in the mound. “As per the age system there is chalcolithic, iron age and then early history. Though we found traces of chalcolithic, we could not find any traces of iron age. So, there is a gap here unlike at Golabai,” said Prof Basa.

He added that “Since there is a lot of similarity between the artefacts found in Golabai and Banga, we are presuming that the skeleton might be 3,500 years old as per ‘relative dating’, but only carbon dating can reveal its actual age,” he added.

Source: The New Indian Express [February 15, 2013]

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