An Autonomous Institution of the Govt. of West Bengal

News Letter For 2011

National Seminar: The theme of FifteenthNational Seminar was ‘Prehistory of South Asia’.The theme of the seminar was chosen to commemorate a hundred and fifty year of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Eminent scholars and young researches like Prof. S.N. Rajguru, Prof. K.Paddayya, Prof. G.L. Badam, Prof. Sheila Mishra, Dr Sushama Deo, Prof. R. Dennell, Prof. M.L. K. Murty, Dr Vidula Jayaswal, Dr V. Selvakumar, Prof. J. N. Pal, Dr Shanti Pappu, Dr Parth R. Chauhan, Dr Neetu Agarwal, Dr Sukanya Sharma, Prof. Anura Manatunga, Dr Kumar Akhilesh, Dr Tia Toshi Jamir and Prof. Syed Muhammad Kamrul Ahsan participated and presented their paper.


International Seminar: The theme of the International Seminar organized by the Centre for Archeological Studies & Training, Eastern India was ‘The Ports of the Indian Ocean: From the Red Sea to the Gulf of Bengal’. There were eight major sessions of the seminar:(a) Source and Maps upto Portuguese Period, (b) Archaeology and History of Ports in India, (c)Ports of the Red Sea in Antiquity, (d) Arabia, Africa and India: Written Sources and Settlements, (e) Ports of the Red Sea and India in Medieval Times, (f) Ports of the Persian Gulf and the Bay of Bengal, (g) Ancient Ports of Sri Lanka, and (h) Ancient Ports of Southern India. Twenty-six participants from abroad including eminent scholars and young research and ten participants from India presented papers.Scholars presented their papers were Prof. Jean Francois Salles, Prof. Mari Francoise Bussae, Prof. Rila Mukherjee, Prof. Osmund Boperrachi, Dario Nappo, Berenice Bellina,  Prof. Eric Vallet, Dr. Kurush Dallal, Dr. Subhra Pramanik and others.


Excavation, Explorations and Conservation, Eastern India


Sutiambay Garh, Pithoria, Dist. Ranchi: ASI Ranchi surveyed Sutiambay Garh, Pithoria hill and has got the remains of Mesolithic site and has collected the Microlithic tools which were scattered. There are also the ruins of an ancient temple situated towards the northern side of the hill. A small Siva linga was found in the sanctum of the temple. Other sculptural fragments are of Ganesha, Nandi, Jaina tirthankaras and a horse rider sculpture, which are lying on the site.


Benisagar, District West Singbhum: ASI Ranchi Circle surveyed the surrounding area of Benisagar. During the course of surveying the team has revealed a good number of Mesolithic tools nearby the protected ancient Shiva temple and tank at Benisagar. It is observed that the Mesolithic remains are spread on the top of the granite out crops.



Golbai Sasan: The Neolithic/Chalcolithic, early Iron Age and early historic site of the Golbai Sasan is located 60 kms south-west of Bhubaneshwar in Khurda district. The exploration was carried out by Dr R.K. Mohanty, Department of Archaeology, Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute and his team. It was aimed at understanding the gradual growth of the site and its role throughout the period and looking for its relationship with development of urban phase in eastern Odisha. The exploration focused not only on the economic activities, settlement patterns, craft specialization and other occupational activities but also focused more on the subsistence pattern especially collecting evidence through charred grains, pollen grains, phytoliths, wood charcoal and animal bones. The stone and bone polished axes, cord impressed pottery, perforated jar, bone and stone tools of the Neolithic phase were documented.

During exploration at Golbai, and its surrounding areas a fortified early historic city was discovered. This site Talapada, is like a miniature Sisupalgarh. The pottery collected from the exposed section clearly shows the affinity with the Sisupalgarh findings. In both the sites the lower levels have given evidence of knobbed ware which can be dated to middle of first millennium BC [Courtesy: Prof. Rabi Mohanty,Department of Archaeology, Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute].


Bargarh: Bargarh upland which is a late Acheulean open-air site of Barpadar, located in the upper course of the River Jira,a tributary of the Mahanadi, was explored by the Department of History, Sambalpur University, to study geo-stratigraphic contexts as well as extent and distribution patterns of the Palaeolithic sites in relation to raw material sources. During the course of exploration several locality bearing lithic scatters of the late Acheulean-middle Palaeolithic technological tradition have been brought to light near the village Gopalapur situated about 15 km north-west of the district headquarters of Bargarh and about 10 km north-east side of Barpadar. Dense clusters of lithic artefacts of varied dimensions and physical condition were found scattered over the erosional surface of the immediate foothill slopes of the elongated and narrow dolerite ridge on the southern flank of which the extensive site is spread over. In majority of the cases artefacts have been found embedded in a lateritic gravel deposit. Occurrence of well made handaxes, cleavers, prepared cores, predetermined flakes and blade blanks, and light duty tools i.e. scrappers, denticulates, coins and notches[Courtesy: Dr P.K.Behara, Department of History, Sambalpur University, Odisha].


West Bengal:

Bangarh: In continuation of previous year’s excavation, ASI Kolkata Circle resumed work at the ancient mound of Bangarh, district Dakshin Dinajpur. The main objective of the excavation was to get a complete picture of the earliest settlement of the site and to throw further light on the structural activity of the site with special emphasis to the exposed massive temple complex of Pala period. The entire deposit was divided into eleven layers which may be synchronized in six cultural periods.

Period I. Mauryan Period: Most remarkable and rare evidence is the discovery of a wooden structure representing two numbers of polished wooden planks which are submerged under water. At the same depth a compact floor level of brick bats with prominent existence of the post- holes has been encountered.

Period II. Sunga-Kushana Period: No regular structure of bricks has come out from this period. Antiquities like terracotta seals/sealings, terracotta plaques, copper punch-marked coins, beads of semi precious stones and terracotta were found

Period III. Gupta Period: Good number of burnt brick walls has been exposed and a big hearth surrounded by decorated tiles was an outstanding discovery of the period.

Period IV. Post-Gupta Period:Structural activities are mostly made of re-used bricks.

Period V. Pala Period: Structural remains consist of a massive brick built temple complex. The feature of the entire temple complex, exposed so far represents a Panchayatana temple with a circumbulatory pathway.

Period VI. Sultanate Period: A number of structures of this period have been found just below the surface layer of the site. The most important antiquities recovered from this period are three numbers of inscribed silver coins issued by the Sultans of Bengal.


1. Exploration conducted by Kolkata Circle in the area of Dargah of Pir Bahram Saqqa, district Bardhaman.

2. Sibbati area of Banghar, Gangarampur a head-less ornamented stone sculpture probably of God Surya has been recovered and kept in the sculpture shed of Bangarh site.[Courtesy: T.J.Baidya, Superintending Archaeologist, Kolkata Circle, ASI].


Chandraketugarh: Chandraketugarh located in the state of West Bengal, in the district of  North 24 Parganas, was excavated by ASI under direction of Sri Santanu Maiti in collaboration with Centre for Archaeological Studies & Training, Eastern India. Objective of this season’s work was to understand the construction of the rampart wall. This has been assigned to the early historic period by the early excavators. Excavation revealed dumped soils brought from different areas to make the basic structure of the wall. It also revealed a brick structure associated with a wall which probably functioned as encasement. It is made of re-used bricks which are mostly intact. Under the wall two floor levels were found which a part of the regular habitation area is possibly. Floor 1 is made of brickbats and rammed potteries. The floor was covered with thin grey ash with specks of charcoal strewn over it. Floor 2 is similar in nature but without the ashy cover. A posthole was noticed in the north-west section. [Courtesy: Santanu Maiti, ASI, Kolkata Circle and Dr Sharmi Chakraborty, Centre for Archaeological Studies & Training, Eastern India].


Garh Mandaran: The Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of West Bengal carried out excavation work at the site located on the right bank of the River Damodar at a distance of about 25 km south-west of Arambagh town in Hooghly district. The site was excavated under the guidance of Amal Roy and Prakash Chandra Maity. Evidence of brick and lateratite massive structure, decorated stone slabs and huge brickbats and various antiquities proved the historical and archaeological potentiality of the site. The cultural sequence of the site may be divided into three phases on the basis of structural activity, antiquity and ceramic evidence.

Period I marked as pre-phase of foundation of the outer wall laid above or into the natural soil. Artefacts obtained include buff ware, iron nail, raw iron and brickbats.

Period II represented by the construction of laterite stone and brick made fort along with the forts eastern entrance, the floor of the gate and staircase of the gate. Pottery include storage jar, vase, smoking objects, lamp, handi, etc. and other than these were copper objects, iron objects, terracotta ball and animal figurines.

Period III represents the late constructional activity on the mound. Several antiquities like modern coins, iron nails, bricks, beads, etc. have been recovered from the upper 15-25 cm deposition. Other than pottery several antiquities like terracotta bangles, glass objects, iron objects, bone, arrow head, modern coins, terracotta animal figure, canon ball, terracotta lamp, iron nail, porcelain, terracotta ball, iron spear head, iron chisel, copper ring, copper bangle have been found from the excavated trench.

[Courtesy: Amol Roy, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of West Bengal]


Moghalmari: The Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta, resumed its excavation at the site under the supervision of Dr Asok Dutta, assisted by Rajat Sanyal and others. The basic objectives of excavation in this year were to trace out the complete lay-out plan of the outer wall of the monastic complex besides looking for evidences of temple and courtyard of the monastery. A large number of terracotta lamps have been recovered from the area.

[Courtesy: Asok Dutta, Department of Archaeology, University of Calcutta]


Mangalkot: In continuation of previous work the trench were taken in south-western part of Sarkaridanga. Mediaeval deposit characterized by remnant of brick structures associated with brick bats and potteries. The undisturbed early historic layer in the northern section of the trench has the concentration of charcoal and potteries. Among artefacts recovered were terracotta beads, wheels and sling balls, metal objects like iron nails, copper coins and copper awls. Remains of wattle and daub and remnant of mud wall were also noticed.

[Courtesy: Dr Suchira Roychoudhury, Fellow, Centre for Archaeological Studies & Training, Eastern India]

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.