An Autonomous Institution of the Govt. of West Bengal

News Letter For 2008

National Seminar:The theme of National Seminar 2007 was ‘Remembering Kosambi: A Centenary Tribute’.Eminent scholars like Prof. M.K. Dhavalikar, Prof. Asok Mitra, Prof. M.K. Pal, Prof. Barun De, Prof. B.D. Chattopadhyay, Dr Gaureswar Bhattacharya, Dr M.L.K. Murty, Dr R. Mahalakshmi, Dr Sanjay Chandra, Prof. Dipak Bhattacharya, Dr M.N. Rajesh, Dr Amitava Sarkar, Samira Dasgupta, Dr Bishnupriya Basak, Dr Susmita Basu Majumdar, Dr Ajay Pratap, Dr Ajay Dandekar, Dr Subhangana Atre and Jae-Eun-Shin participated in the seminar.


Excavation, Explorations

Bihar:Anancient mound of village Khusi-Harpur Ramni, a district town in Bihar was excavated under the guidance of Dr P.K. Mishra, Superintendent Archaeologist, ASI, Patna Circle. The central portion of the mound was taken up for excavation. Pot sherds include Red Ware with the shapes of vase, dish, bowl, bowl with ring cut base, handi, carinated handi, spout, lid, vase with narrow and wide mouth and lid of storage jar. Other artefacts include brick bats, bone pieces, shell, cowrie and terracotta roof tiles.


Nalanda:Some new features at Temple No.14 have been into light during scientific clearance work. Original temple was approachable through the brick-built steps from the eastern side as indicated after exposing a flight of four broad steps. The upper circumbulatory paths accessible through a flight of three steps built of burnt bricks have been clear. The steps are preceded by chandrashila i.e. a lunate shaped doorstep.

In subsequent years this chandrashila got concealed by the circumbulatory path constructed of brick jelly and lime plaster most probably during the Pala period. Towards the southern side evidence of another shrine built on a raised platform has also been exposed and finding of a beautiful amlaka curved out in granitite stone indicates about the existence of a huge temple[Courtesy: P.K. Mishra, Superintendent Archaeologist, ASI, Patna Circle].


Panr:The excavation was carried out by Dr B.K.Choudhary, Director K.P. Jaiswal Research Institute. In this year the excavation has revealed four cultural phases belonging respectively to Chalcolithic, NBPW, Sunga-Kushana and Gupta period. Other than pottery antiquities include steatite beads, terracotta beads, sometimes vase-shaped, bone arrow heads, stone balls, iron weapons and tools, copper tools, bone objects, terracotta figurines, stone pestles, copper antimony roads, iron nails, sickles and razor, inscribed terracotta ceiling in Bramhi script have been recovered from the excavation [Courtesy: Bijoy Kumar Choudhary, Director, K.P. Jaiswal Research Institute, Patna].


Jharkhand:Khukhara:The site is in the Bero Block of Ranchi District. The site was excavated under Directorate of Archaeology, Jharkhand. The main purpose of the excavation was to locate, identify and study the structures and other cultural assemblages of the Nagbanshi kings of Jharkhand and thus to establish a form date for this dynasty, which is still controversial in the history of Jharkhand. The excavation yielded the remains of a brick built temple complex. Other than this several pot-burials were encountered during the excavation, in which very small bone pieces were found.On the basis of associated finds, several types of potteries these structures, which are continuing even further below, have been dated tentatively to c. fourteenth-fifteenth century AD [Courtesy: Harendra Pd. Sinha, Deputy Director Archaeology, Jharkhand].


Orissa:Sulabhdih, Sambhalpur District:Excavation and exploration was carriedout by Sambalpur University, in and around Village Sulabhdih, District Sundarghar, Orissa. Early explorations have revealed six mounds yielding of waste products, large sized boulder cores, flake blades, blanks, hammers, celts, roughouts, semi-finished celts of various sixes etc. Nothing conclusive can be said at present regarding the date of the site[Courtesy: DrP.K. Behera, Department of History, Sambhalpur University].


Mahabhoi Puskarini, Kapileswar:The site is situated in the southern outskirt of Bhubaneswar under the revenue area of Kapileswar Village, District Khurda. The site is excavated by Orissa state museum. Habitational gap in the cultural deposit has been noticed during the excavation. The pottery remains mainly red ware and some pot sherds are handmade. The cultural deposits atleast goes back to early part of Christian era. Further excavations are expected to throw light on the nature of the colossal structure.


Keduli:The site is excavated by Orissa State Museum in Khurda District. Many fragmentary structures, architectural remains along with pottery have been found in three different mounds near the village. The excavation was mainly undertaken to ascertain the cultural deposits and chronological sequence of the site. Archaeological assemblages includes a big size earthen storage jars, terracotta lamps, terracotta toys and beads, terracotta sling balls, terracotta hopscotch, terracotta gamesman, stone and terracotta beads, iron nails and iron scrapper, iron stylus, stone hammer, iron axe etc. [Courtesy: Dr C.B. Patel, Superintendent, Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneswar].


Arunachal Pradesh

 Taklung Dzong: The site is situated at the western most flank of the west Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh. The monument here is believed to be constructed during the later part of sixteenthcentury AD by Lama Tanpei Dronme with two storied buildings along with stone fortification and later Dzonspen office was attached with Taklung Gompa and known as Taklung Dzong.


Dirang Dzong:The Dzong (fort) is situated in Dirang under west Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh. The monument is encompassed by the river Dirang in the north and east direction. The fort is a four storied building which was used as an office cum prayer hall by the councilor of the area hailing from Tawang and Bomdila. The structural conservation, salvage excavation and beautification work were carried out in 2007-08. The monument partially damaged during a fire accident during the last decade of the twentieth century has been renovated in 2005 with the help of financial assistance by Eleventh Finance Commission (2000-2005) [Courtesy: Tage Tada, Director, Directorate of Research, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar].


West Bengal

Balupur: The site is situated in Malda District and was excavated byVisva-Bharati. The main aim was to understand the chronology and stratigraphy of the site as well as nature of human habitation through the various cultural levels.Four cultural phases were found. First cultural period represents pre-early medieval period (fifth-seventh century AD), second phase early medieval period (eighth-twelfth century AD), third phase Sultanate period (thirteenth-fifteenthcentury AD) and the last phase is dated to sixteenth to eighteenthcentury AD.Cultural assemblages include mud floors as well as pottery, animal bones, terracotta objects, beads, evidence of human skeleton remains, brick walls of eleven courses, brick structures, industrial activities (iron, copper, bead making, shell working) etc.[Courtesy: Dr Sheena Panja, Department of AIHC and Archaeology, Visva-Bharati].


Sankhe Dunga: The site located in western Kalimpong of the Darjeeling Hills is excavated by Visva-Bharati. The cultural horizon starts at a depth of 26 cm and continues to 40 cm. Excavation has recorded a floor level upon which tools were made and, in addition, sherds of cord-impressed pottery, red ware and grey ware were also recovered.


Sekhampur:Excavation at Sekhampur, lateritic out crop Middle Palaeolithic site was conducted in 2007 by Visva-Bharati. Even though the excavation was of small scale, it has identified two distinct horizons from which in situ artefacts occur [Courtesy: Dr Subrata Chakraborty, Department of AIHC and Archaeology, Visva-Bharati].


Moghalmari: Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta resumed the excavation at the site in 2008 under the supervision of Dr Asok Datta. The basic objectives of the excavation were to expose the outer wall of the eastern side of the mound and to understand the inter-relationship of different structural components within the monastic complex. The excavation has revealed an outlet (drain) in the outer wall in trench no. ZJI. Other than these a good number of fragmentary stone sculptures have been found from excavation including one Proto-Bengali (Gaudiya)script[Courtesy: Asok Dutta, Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta].


Hatpara, Murshidabad:The excavation at the mound Chand Thakurer Danga,within a small village Hatpara in Murshidabad district was undertaken by Directorate of Archaeology, West Bengal. It revealed two periods of occupation. Period I belong to microlithic culture and Period II medieval period [Coutesy: Directorate of Archaeology, West Bengal].


Bakreshwar River Valley: Exploration is conducted by Centre for Archaeological Studies & Training, Eastern India in the area stretched from the confluence of the river Chandrabhaga to confluence of Kopai River. Important sites were as followed:

Hatikra:Assemblage here is visible in patches which include fabric ranging from Chalcolithic, early Historic and later periods.

Gangte: Situated on the Chandrabhaga River, has a definite early habitation. Pottery types were burnished black ware with red core, burnished red ware and light red ware.

Paharpur: There is a large habitation mound dissected at places by village roads.

Sindurtopa: It is a reported site with mixed ceramic assemblage of proto-historic, early historic and medieval period.

Poshwa: Pottery includes grey ware of fine and medium variety, dark red ware, black on red slip and coarse red ware.

Altor/Alitor: The site is probably multi-cultural, but pottery include only medieval black on red slip, dark red ware, etc.

Kurumsha:It is another multi-cultural ceramic assemblage ranging from proto-historic, early historic, and medieval period.

Kusumjatra: It is another multi-cultural site,has habitational remains at Palpara and a prominent river section at Dongaghat. Other than pottery a terracotta dagger and terracotta ball were recovered from the site.

Siur: It is a large medieval site with mud wall and moat. Pottery includes chocolate ware, red ware, and grey ware of medieval variety.


Paharpur:Site is situated on the left bank of river Bakreswar. A trial trench was taken up by CASTEI, under the Directorship of Dr Sharmi Chakraborty. Three spots were taken to understand the ceramic assemblage, two in Schoolbari Math and another on private land at Dharmarajtala, and another at Khelorampar. Chronologically site belongs to early medieval to late medieval. Pottery collected from Schoolbari Math were red ware, grey ware, black on red slip, black ware, coarse red ware, chocolate slip ware, black burnished ware and brownish red slip ware. Among other antiquities were terracotta figurine, fragment of marble vessel, basalt dish, beads, terracotta ball, black glass bangle, terracotta spool, broken lamp and among pottery were dark red ware, light red ware, grey ware, etc. 

Prehistory of South Asia
Seminar 2010

This was the 15th Annual Seminar of the Centre. The theme was ‘Prehistory of South Asia’. The main aim was to highlight explorations and excavations in different parts of South Asia. There was a need to highlight areas which have been the subject of substantial research for further development.
Bhatpara Takarnath Balika Vidyalaya

CASTEI will be organizing a series of outreach programs at different schools and colleges to create awareness for heritage and archaeology. The first of the awareness programme was held at Bhatpara Takarnath Balika Vidyalaya on 7/1/2013-8/1/2013.