Excavation at Asurgarh begins to ascertain the cultural sequence

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Phanindra Pradhan

Sambalpur, June 4: To ascertain the cultural sequence of Asurgarh in the Barpali area of Bargarh district, the History Department of Gangadhar Meher University (GMU), Sambalpur has started excavation at the site.

Around 55 PG and Ph.D. students under the supervision of Assistant Professor of the Department of History of the varsity, Atul Pradhan started the excavation at the site on May 31. They have planned to continue the excavation work till the advent of the monsoon.

Pradhan, who is the director of the excavation, informed, it was an early urban center. It is a unique site as it was a double-moated double forted urban settlement. Moreover, it is a mud fort site, which is a regular feature in this region. The Government of India gave us the license for excavation recently and following which we came here and started the excavation. The objective of the whole exercise is to determine the exact age of Asurgarh here and ascertain its evolution, nature of habitation, town planning, and how it was abandoned beside the cultural sequence of the site; he informed and said that they have adopted a grid pattern excavation technique.

Pradhan said, we have been excavating for the last 4 days and we have already excavated 40 centimeters from the surface at the site, which is under the Gopeipali Gram Panchayat of Barpali Block and located around 4 kilometers from the Barpali town. We have recovered some ancient pottery, bricks, fragmented coins, and ceramics from the site so far. We will excavate about 1 meter from the surface here, said Pradhan

Pradhan further said, there are many Asurgarh in Western Odisha besides in Chhattisgarh. The Asurgarh at Narla in Kalahandi district was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) a few years ago and it was found to be a 6th Century BC urban settlement. Many Asurgarh are still unexplored. This is the first time that the Asurgarh in the Barpali area of Bargarh district is being excavated by the Department of History of GMU and with the permission from Government of India, he added.

We are also optimistic about uncovering details of culture, trade, and customs during the excavation said a student.

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