Sinauli village in Uttar Pradesh has become an archaeological hotspot for excavations. In a first, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed two decorated ‘legged coffins’ during an excavation process in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh. Officials claim that this is the first of a kind discovery in the Indian subcontinent.
Baghpat: ASI has unearthed two decorated ‘legged’ coffins with skeletons during excavation in Sanauli. Dr. SK Manjul, Director,Institute of Archaeology says,”We’ve also unearthed chariot, helmet, shield, sword & dagger from grave.We started this excavation in January.” pic.twitter.com/ewiinveMbw
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This excavation is a continuation of the work started in 2018, at Sanauli, this being carried out under the direction of SK Manjul, Director, Institute of Archaeology of ASI to understand the extension of the burial site and habitation area in context with earlier findings. The site’s proximity to Hastinapur, and its time period had raised the possibility that the site may be related to Mahabharat era.
According to SK Manjul, these artefacts do not belong to the Harappan or Indus Valley civilisation. He hints that there might have been a parallel civilisation then, which India is still unaware of. He also confirmed that pieces of burnt wood found near with the legged coffin boxes hint that the people dwelling then, gave a bath to the deceased before carrying out their last rituals.
Previously, the Archeological Survey of India had discovered the ‘First Ever’ physical evidence of chariots being used in a near 2000 BC period which was considered the bronze age. As per reports, the excavation that had turned up royal burial sites with sophisticated weaponry, ornaments, pottery and other materials suggested that a highly sophisticated ‘warrior class’ civilisation existed in that region.
Meanwhile, sacred chambers along with furnaces, ‘legged coffins’ with skeletons were amongst the things discovered by the team of ASI personnel. It is being believed that all the artefacts discovered are more than 4000 years old.
“This is for the first time such discoveries were made in the Indian subcontinent, which is different from Harappan culture. It existed in upper Ganga-Yamuna Doab region. All these articles such as weapons, chariots, and shields have never been found in the sub-continent. The new findings give a new idea and dimension to Indian archaeology for understanding ancient literature and Vedic literature,” said Manjul.
The excavation, which restarted in January, is being done at two different locations. “In the first area, two burial pits and a sacred chamber of burnt brick were discovered along with burial goods. One wooden ‘legged coffin’ decorated with steatite inlays having extended skeleton of a female was excavated. This burial pit contains evidence of decomposed bow, bone points, armlet of semiprecious stones, gold bead and pottery systematically arranged towards north and eastern sides of the coffin,” said an ASI statement.
In one of the burials, the ASI recovered copper mirror, hairpin, channel, beads, painted vanity and pottery with a female skeleton.
Two big pots are placed under the coffin which could have contained food and other organic remains associated with rituals,” said an official.
At the second location, the ASI unearthed remains of four furnaces with three associated working levels. “The furnaces yielded slags, potsherds, and few charred bones. Stone weights, anvils, animal figurines, etc are a part of the antiquities recovered from this area. The overall ceramic assemblage has late Harappan characters,” said the ASI furthering that “The nature of burial pottery, coffins, antiquities suggest a complex of late Harappan period. Sanauli is important in not only giving new evidence of copper decorated chariots and coffins, shields in the subcontinent first time but also in the understanding of the cultural scenario of the upper Ganga-Yamuna Doab.”
Meanwhile, the excavation process is still underway, the experts state that these findings suggest that the civilisation was theologically advanced and also culturally, aesthetically sophisticated.