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4,000 year old copper axes, pottery found in Saharanpur

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) here is excited over a recent find in Saharanpur district that, according to the department, includes pieces of pottery belonging to Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) culture and six copper axes, dated at approximately 4,000 years old.

4,000 year old copper axes, pottery found in Saharanpur
Recent finds in Saharanpur district includes pieces of pottery belonging to Ochre 
Coloured Pottery (OCP) culture and six copper axes, dated at approximately
4,000 years old [Credit: TOI]
It was a chance discovery as a brick kiln owner who owned the land was digging earth in the area when he found them. Officials informed TOI that they received a call from the Saharanpur administration about the axes recovered from the brick kiln owner. Subsequently, a two-member ASI team visited the site and brought the artifacts with them here for further study.

"Six axes were in the form of a hoard and kept one over another. It is a prized discovery and would help us know more about that period. In the same area, bits and pieces of OCP were also found," said an official who visited the site.

The find was over a four-bigha plot in Saharanpur Kotwali area and belonged to a former village pradhan.

ASI superintending archaeologist Bhuvan Vikrama said, "At face value, the axes seem to belong to the Neolithic period, while pottery is from OCP, but further study is required to ascertain their actual era. Moreover, we have written to headquarters informing senior officials of the discovery and recommended further digging in the area. There is an excavation branch of ASI which can take up this work."

While there is consensus over the age of the pottery among the historians and ASI officials, the former differed on the period to which the copper axes belonged.

MK Pundhir, associate professor from the Centre of Advance Studies in History at Aligarh Muslim University, said, "The axes most probably belonged to the Copper Age, some 5,000 years before present. OCP was contemporary to the Copper Age. Looking at the shape of pottery it seems that they predate the Indus Valley Civilisation, which started in 3,000 BC."

It is said that Indus Valley Civilisation was an urban civilisation. But an urban civilisation cannot exist without its rural counterpart, which, for that period, is yet to be found. According to one opinion, OCP was the rural side of Indus Valley Civilisation, but that has not been confirmed. OCP predates, was also contemporary, and existed after Indus Valley Civilisation. However, the new find of copper axes and OCP ware indicates that both cultures might have predated Indus Valley Civilisation, experts added.

Pundhir rejected the idea that the copper axes were from the Neolithic period. "At many places in India we have found direct transition from Mesolithic period to Copper Age, skipping the Neolithic period altogether. Moreover, at different places in Saharanpur, OCP and copper instruments had already been found in the past," he added.

Author: Aditya Dev | Source: The Times of India [May 21, 2016]

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