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10,500 year old camp site discovered in Kashmir

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered an ancient camp site dating back to the ninth millennium BC in the rugged terrain of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

10,500 year old camp site discovered in Kashmir
The discovery was first noticed by ASI Joint Director General S B Ota durring a visit to Nubra valley. The discovered 
section showed an interesting pattern of successive layers comprising burnt residue [Credit: PIB]
The site, located some 14,000 feet above sea level on the way to Saser La, was discovered by an ASI official during exploration work in the Nubra Valley.

“While exploring the Nubra valley, ASI joint director-general S. B. Ota observed both sides of the hill and valley as the serpentine road gradually climbed along the Saser stream,” the culture ministry said in a statement.

"After covering a distance of about 22 km, the ASI official noticed a section, exposed due to road construction, showing successive layers comprising burnt residue."

“It was a small flat area with snow-covered peaks, dry barren land with loose rocks all around and a gushing stream within the deep western gorges - an ideal place for camping in a picturesque setting,” the ministry noted.

"A charcoal sample collected from the site was subsequently sent to the BETA LAB, Florida, US, for radiocarbon dating. The outcome, 10,500 BP, was beyond even the ASI’s expectation," said the statement.

In view of the significance of the evidence, a team of ASI’s senior officials, including Ota, and other experts inspected the site in July to assess the probability of further archaeological research in the area. During this visit, more charcoal samples and some bone fragments were collected.

“Two of the charcoal samples from lower and upper deposits sent for dating have provided new radiocarbon dates of c.10,500 and c.9,300 years BP respectively. These dates have indeed confirmed the earlier date, and further suggest continuous human activity at this site for about 800 years."

Preliminary studies of the charred bones collected from the site have shown that they belong to Gorel and Yak.

“The research carried out so far has proved the antiquity of human activity in the region, but their camping patterns, extent of camping area, tools and other cultural aspects are as yet unknown,” the ministry added. 

"It is hoped that future research will shed light on these questions."

Source: Deccan Herald [August 17, 2016]

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