Digging out the past

I always have been very curious about history as a subject. In 2004, I came to know of a course in Indology in Pune accidentally, which I eventually took up. I plan to share my experience with that course later. During M A Indogloy course, I happened to visit few archaeological sites. This blog is sharing of that experience. This course is famous for its field trips. Since the course is about studying India’s past, and while evidences of that are scattered all over, it is natural that the course has focus on field trips. The course also had earned a nickname Hindology(हिंडॉलॉजी, कारण सारखे हिंडणे फिरणे सुरु असते). The course had a subject on archaeology. We managed to be part of couple of excavations underway by Deccan College at couple of sites, and experience them first hand. I wanted to share that experience on this blog.

Our first outing to archaeological site was to a place Jorwe near Sangamner on Pune Nashik highway, to understand center of Jorwe culture which is part of chalcolithic age. The archaeological excavation was done long time back by famous Dr H D Sankaliya in 1950. The excavation activities are no more right now, but we were able to go around the village, different mounds where excavation was carried out, as we got a guided tour with help of our teachers. We were told that red colored pottery, coarse pottery, circular houses, were found. Evidences of clay hearths were also found. It was like traveling back in time relating what we learnt and read in the classrooms about this site.

Few months later, we went to Bhon near Shegaon, where archaeological excavation was on by Dr Deotare from Deccan College. We stayed there for 3 days. Dr Rajguru, famous geo-archaeologist also visited the site, and he was with us for a day. We were fortunate to hear him talk about the significance of the site from geology perspective. The site is on the banks of river Purna is at least 2300 years old site. The team had discovered Buddhist stupa which was constructed in bricks, dating back more than 2000 years. At this site, we took part in trenching, scraping activities. We also played part in pottery pieces classification at the pottery yard, where we saw painted grey ware(PGW), northern black polished ware(NBPW), black red ware pottery. The terracotta ring wells were also found and excavated there. After whole day’s labor, in the evening we all would gather to record our findings, classify, categories and tag them appropriately. We spent 3 days at the site and was very different experience working on the field with fellow archaeologist and learning from them a lot.

Our third visit to archaeological  site was to a place called Inamgaon near Pune. The excavation work here at this site, was carried out way back in 1970. The excavation work went on for 14 seasons, which lasted till 1980. This site is important from the its connection with Jorwe culture. The interesting thing there was evidences found about practice of burring dead persons, that too inside the houses. Also more than 200 megalithic burial circles were found there. This was a one day trip for us. We got opportunity to go around the excavation site, look around the mounds. We also could spot various stone artifacts still scattered around.

Following year, we went to Junnar excavation site where archaeological excavation was on by Dr Vasant Shinde and Srikanth Jadhav from Deccan College. There were evidences of large brick structures which were used as graininess during the Satavahana period. We were at the site for half day, were able to interact with Dr Shinde and Jadhav about the significance of the site. Junnar also has regional office of Archaeological Survey of India which we visited, and that is these were camping during the excavation. Junnar has largest concentration of rock cut caves which are Buddhist caves, as well as Jain caves.

These above mentioned experiences were related to visits to archaeological excavation sites. Besides, that during the course, we had plenty of opportunities to visit and study many ancient and historical landmarks such as Bhimbetka caves in Madhya Pradesh. I will write more about them later. You want to look at other blogs of mine on Indology. Stay tuned till then!



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