Archaeology / Cultural Heritage / History

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution / Linguistics

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Palaeoclimate / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics / Biology


History of excavation sites may get lost

History of some of the famous archaeological sites of Bihar may be lost forever due to the non-publication of their excavation reports. All these archaeological sites form part of history textbooks. Despite CM Nitish Kumar's effort to preserve Bihar's rich collection of antiquities, state culture department has failed to make any headway in this regard. 

Potshards found at the ‘Basu Bihar Archaeological Site’ in Bogra [Credit: STAR]
At the initiative of the CM, last year Bihar Virasat Vikas Samiti, an NGO, was set up under the supervision of development commissioner to document and preserve the forgotten heritage sites. 

During the last 40 years, the directorate of state archaeology, which works under the culture department, has been able to conduct excavations only at 14 places. In reply to an RTI query, the culture department recently admitted that only three excavation reports have been published and the remaining reports of 11 excavated sites are yet to be published. 

Of these 14 excavates sites, only three - Chirand (Saran), Lota Pahar (now in Jharkhand) and Sonepur (Gaya) - have been documented. These 14 sites are - Katragarh (Muzaffarpur), Apshad (Gaya), Balirajgarh (Darbhanga), Chirand (Saran), Karnchaura (Munger), Masarh (Bhojpur), Taradih (Bodh Gaya), Virat Nagar (Rohtas), Sonepur (Gaya), Lota Pahar (now in Jharkhand), Telhara (Nalanda, where excavation is on), Jayamangala Garh (Begusarai), Buxar and Raj Mahal (now in Jharkhand). 

Reports of the remaining 11 excavated sites could be written only by the archaeologists who had excavated these sites. All the excavated materials, site notebooks and antiquities are gathering dust in the department without any proper documentation. "It would be now impossible for anyone to look into the details of the decades-old excavated sites. Archaeologists who have done excavations at these sites are now in their 80s," said an official. 

Two famous archaeologists of Bihar - B S Verma and Sitaram Rai, both in their 80s - have voiced serious apprehensions about losing the authenticity of these ancient sites due to non-publication of final excavation reports. 

Recently, former director of Bihar state directorate of archaeology, Sitaram Rai was entrusted the task to write reports of Katragarh and Balirajgarh sites. But till date, the state government has failed to provide any secretarial and monetary assistance to him. 

"I am worried about my deteriorating health. If the government does not utilize my services in writing the reports soon, these may be lost forever. Then nobody else will be able to document the actual history of these two sites," Rai said. 

The history of another important site at Taradih, located near Mahabodhi Temple, too, may be lost due to the non-publication of the excavation report. Taradih is the mound on which the Mahabodhi Temple stands and became the property of the mahant in 1727 vide a 'furman' of the then Mughal Emperor, Muhammad Shah. 

"Bihar state directorate of archaeology had conducted excavation at Taradih in 1981-82 when I was its director. However, the report has been lying unpublished," Rai said. 

Source: The Times of India [December 17, 2011]

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :

Exhibitions / Travel

[Exhibitions] [bsummary]

Natural Heritage / Environment / Wildlife

[Natural Heritage] [list]

Astronomy / Astrobiology / Space Exploration

[Universe] [list]