An Autonomous Institution of the Govt. of West Bengal

News Letter For 2009

National Seminar: The theme of the Thirteenth National Seminar (2008) was ‘Use of Quantitative Methods in Indian Archaeology’. The seminar aimed to bring in focus the kind of work that is being done in India using quantitative methods. Eminent scholars like Prof. K. Paddayya, Dr P.P. Joglekar,Prof. K.Krishnan, Prof. R. Balasubramaniam, Prof. Ajoy Pratap, Prof. Prakash Sinha, Dr Sukanya Sharma, DrAmiteswar Jha, Dr Susmita Basu Majumdar and Dr Kaushik Gangopadhyay participated.


Excavation, Explorations and Conservation, Eastern India


Exploration of District Madhubani: A team of Directorate of Archaeology, Government of Bihar led by Sri Umashankar Pandit, Asst. Director Archaeology assisted by Dr Atul Kumar Verma undertook exploration in Madhubani District of Bihar. Madhubani District has an ancient past with rich cultural heritage. The district was once under the kingdom of Vidcha ruled by successive lines of kings known as Janakas. The district is now famous for its paintings.

Archaeological sites which came in light in this district were Bheeth Bhagwanpur, Dwalakha in Madhepur Block and Pastan in Andherathadi Block are worth mentioning. At Bheeth Bhagwanpur there are temples like Shiv-Parvati temple, Lakshmi-Narayan temple etc. of late medieval period. But the sculptures of the presiding deities are of early medieval period, i.e. Pala and Sena period. At Dwalakha also, temples like Hareshwaranath temple, also exist of late medieval period but sculptures preserved there are of early medieval period. At Pastan in Andherathadi Block, two mounds have been noticed which probably preserved some Buddhist Stupa [Courtesy: Directorate of Archaeology, Government of Bihar].



The archaeology sector of Department of Art, Culture, Sports and Youth Affair has completed village to village survey of Hazaribagh, Khunti, Saraikala-Kharsawan, Sahebgunj and DumkaDistrict of Jharkhand.

An exploration was conducted in eastern Singbhum District in Baharagora and Chakulia Blocks on Jharkhand-Orissa boarder. About 400 years old Shyamsundar temple with terracotta panels was encountered near Kokpara village in Chakulia Block. In Bahagora Block, near the village Bankdah, several stone sculptures belonging to tenth-twelfth century AD were seen collected under a tree. The deities represented in this culture are Surya, Durga, Nandi and Rabenta. In the nearby village Khanda-Mauda, a Shiv temple about seventeenth century was located which is called Bhuteshwar Mahadev. The most important find in this area, in the Mohuldangri village is a hoard of bronze images. Most of them seem to be Jain images. Prior to this, a bronze hoard of 29 pieces were reported from Aluwara in Dhanbad District in early twentieth century.

Another archaeological exploration brought to light the megalithic monuments in many districts of Jharkhand. These megalithic burials mainly menhirs, have been located in Ramgarh Block of Ramgarh District from villages like Honhe and Bhenpur. Such megaliths have also been located in Hazaribagh District from Barwa-Pakari and many other villages.

In Palamu District a remaekable site Kabra Kalan has been explored thoroughly on the baneks of river Sone near Jharkhand-Bihar border. Some modern temples have been constructed on a huge mound from where a number of early historic potteries including NBPW in several shades were found [Courtesy: Dr H. Sinha, Deputy Director of Archaeology, Jharkhand].



Excavation of Ambari, Kamrup District: Archaeological excavation in Ambari was undertaken jointly by the ASI, Guwahati Circle and Directorate of Archaeology, Assam. Evidence of a brick built tank and a terracotta sealing along with other terracotta aherds datable to Sunga-Kushana period have been exposed. The exposed evidence at Ambari has linked up the history of ancient Assam with ancient Indian cultural sites of Sunga-Kushana period [Courtesy: Dr H. N. Dutta, Directorate of Archaeology, Government of Assam].



Recent Archaeological Research undertaken by the Anthropological Society of Nagaland and the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Nagaland. This has provided numerous radiocarbon dates of several Naga ancestral sites extending back to as early as seventh century AD.

Discovery of an early Neolithic cave site in the vicinity of Mimi village in the Naga Ophiolite Belt area in Kiphire District of Nagaland had been extensively explored under Tiatoshi Jamir. Neolithic tools, ash deposits, cord marked potteries, animal bones and a human burial were excavated from the lime stone cave [Courtesy: Dr Tiatoshi Jamir, Lecturer, Nagaland University].



Archaeological exploration in the Upper Jira River Valley, Bargarh Upland exploration conducted by P.G. Department of History, Sambalpur University brought to light an extensive lower Paleolithic habitational site near the village Barpadar. The site is located about a kilo meter east of the left bank of the River Jira.

Palaeolithic artefacts, represented by handaxes, cleavers, cores and various types of tools made on flakes etc. have been found scattered over the eroded surfaced of a lateritic cemented gavel deposit [Courtesy: P.K. Behera, Department of History, Sambalpur University].


Excavation at Narisho: A trial excavation was conducted by the P.G. Department of AIHC and Archaeology, Utkal University on an ancient mound situated at Narisho village on the right bank of River Prachi. Excavation though limited in nature recovered antiquities of different materials like stone, bone, terracotta, metal, glass and shell. Terracotta material includes beads, animal figurines, hopscotch, cake, wheel, reel, gamesman, etc. Amongst stone objects were pestle, stone saddle and quern, beads of semi precious stones etc. Iron and copper objects were also recovered along with rich ceramics industry.[Courtesy: Sadashiv Pradhan, Reader, Department of AIHC and Archaeology, Sambalpur University].


West Bengal

Excavation at Dihar: Dihar located on the north bank of river Dwarakeshwar, in district of Bankura. In continuation of the earlier works, Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta, has resumed excavation at three unprotected and unexcavated mounds of Dihar. Apart from pottery artefact include microliths, polished stone tools, bone tools, terracotta objects in form of balls, net sinkers, hop-scotches, beads, whorls etc.

A comprehensive chronology of the site is as follows:

Period I: Early village farming associated with BRW using culture without metal

Period II: Early village farming associated with BRW using culture with metal

Period III: Early historic showing continuity of BRW

Period IV: Earlymediaeval (pre-Malla)

Period V: Mediaeval (Malla)

[Courtesy: Dr Rupendra Kumar Chattopadhyay, Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta].


Hatpara, Dheka, Murshidabad District: excavation of the mound Hari Rajar Garh at the village Dheka was resumed. Excavation yielded the remains of a huge brick-structure of pre-Pala period and along with this a fair number of antiquities such as seals and sealings, terracotta plaques, fragmentary stucco head, iron objects, terracotta bangles, hopscotch, copper objects, etc. were recovered.

       Hatpara: Archaeological excavation of the mound Chand Thakurer Danga at the village Hatpara was resumed to check the chronology of the site as recorded through the earlier works. Chronological sequence is period I belong to late Pliestocene age (Microlithic culture) and period II belongs to mediaeval times (Sultanate period).

       Exploration was conducted in Murshidabad District, several archaeological sites were within Kandi and Jangipur Subdivisions. Main sites were Geetgram, Bharatpur, Talgram, Chandpara, Hatpara, Dogachi, Hukarhat, Mahipal, Lakshihat, Manigram, Jalbandha, Dheka, Salar, Sabalpur, Sarmastpur, Kherur, Sagardighi, Ugura, Koregram, Brahmanigram, Gankar, Jibanti and Moregram [Courtesy: Amal Roy, Superintending Archaeologist, Directorate of Archaeology, Government of West Bengal].


Excavation at Bangarh: Excavation at Bangarh in South Dinajpur District was undertaken by ASI, Kolkata Circle. The main objective of the present excavation was to expose pre-Mauryan settlement, if any, at the site and to get PGW or contemporary pottery and other relics. Seven fold cultural sequence started from pre-Mauryan period to late mediaeval period.

Period I (Pre-Mauryan): Finds of the period are houses of wattle and daub, black slipped ware, beads, etc.

Period II(Mauryan): Finds include beautiful terracotta ring well, punched marked coins, terracotta gamesman, etc.

Period III (Sunga-Kushana): Finds include structural remains of bricks, terracotta tiles, terracotta plaques, cast copper coins, red ware, grey wares.etc.

Period IV (Gupta): Finds include terracotta beads, animal figurines, moulds, seals, etc.

Period V(Post-Gupta): Antiquities collected are terracotta hopscotch, stoppers, composite terracotta figures representing Lajja-Gouri on one side, tortoise, Garuda and bird on the other side.

Period VI (Pala): Two brick built bastions of the rampart wall are the main finds of the period along with terracotta female figures and other minor antiquities.

Next period represented by glazed sherds and structural remains of re-used bricks and a guard wall of the bastions. [Courtesy: Mr Tapanjyoti Baidya, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Kolkata Circle].


Exploration in Bakreshwar River Valley: Explorations were carried out in the upper part (before it joined the Chandrabhaga river) and lower part after it is joined by Kopai and flows as Koiya River (till the border of Birbhum District).

At Bahadurgunj, much far from the present village near Bakreswar river are two small mounds with iron slag of unknown antiquity. Across the river is Chak Jitua mauza where a deposit of late medieval period was noticed.

     Palashdanga is another medieval settlement of which only a patch is surviving.

      Hetampur yielded no remains older than that of British period temple and palace.

      Jashpur yielded iron smelting evidence with ceramics of medieval period or later.

     Mamabhagne Pahar previously reported site yielded nothing because of anthropogenic activity.

Chimpai known as microlithic site but did not yielded anything during present exploration.

Nidhirampur was consisted of habitational deposit of late medieval period.

Shahpur again a medieval habitation, perhaps an important period inhabited by Zamindars.

Kurora is a medieval habitation with late medieval temple situated on it.

Second phase of excavation was from the confluence of Bakreshwar and Kopai and the river then onwards is called Koiya till it flows into Mayurakshi River. All the villages in Birbhum District were only surveyed.

A well-known temple complex of Devi worshipped as Fullora, at Monchitura. The antiquity of the temple goes back to medieval period or even earlier.

Shitalgram is again a medieval habitational site.

Lohadda is a large iron smelting site. No pottery was noticed.

Jamna has temple with linga and a sculpture depicting female figure on four sides seated in padmashana with hands in anjali mudra. They come from nearby village of Belguni.


Archaeological exploration in the Kanthi Sand Dune Ridges:The dune ridge complex along the Medinipore coast is important for its geographic features which were related to sea level changes in the past. Preliminary geo-archaeological research has been conducted in the region by CASTEI in the collaboration with Marine Wing GSI. Kaushik Gangopadhyay and Sayan Bhattacharya of CASTEI explored the area.

Bahiri: There are three mauzas namely Bahiri, Bidhubahirfi and Deulbar. The exploration located early historic deposits within the mauzas and several previously unknown features of the site.

Depal: Extensive medieval site within a sand dune context.

Kanjia: Medieval site pottery was recovered from sand dune context. The villagers reported that inside some of the local ponds, ring wells can be located.

Deulpota: It is a medieval site. Pottery recovered from the surrounding areas near the local ponds probably belongs to the medieval period.

The area is extremely important for geoarchaeological research in coastal West Bengal. Geoarchaeological exploration of the site was taken up by Centre in 2008 with Prof. S.N. Rajguru and team from CASTEI.

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.