Odisha | India | Unearthed | 20th August 2021 | Virtual Wire
Archeologists of OIMSEAS unearth a 4000-year-old settlement in Balasore District in the state of Odisha. Articles and pottery dating back to 2000 BCE are found and are believed to be belonging to three different historical periods.Archaeologists.
We’ve all heard about the Harappa civilization, one that flourished near the banks of the Indus River around 4700 years ago. There has been extensive research, excavation, and exploration that has gone into knowing more about this civilization.
The first major excavation for the Harappa Civilization took place in the early 1920s. Since then, we have been so fascinated by the lifestyle, trade and culture of people in the Indus Valley Civilization, that the discovery of another fairly developed ancient civilization almost felt impossible.
Believe it or not, archaeologists of OIMSEAS, which stands for the Odisha Institute of Maritime and South-East Asian Studies (Archeological wing of the Odisha State government) have made another astonishing discovery. In the Balasore District in the state of Odisha, OIMSEAS have discovered a 4,000-year-old settlement along with some ancient artefacts of that time.
The OIMSEAS sought permission for documenting the site at Durgadevi Village (located roughly twenty kilometres from the town of Balasore, in Remuna Tehsil) from the Archeological Survey of India after uncovering remnants of fortified ancient historic sites near the town of Balasore.
The first phase of excavation took place from March to May this year. The site has a circular mud fortification of about five kilometres between the Sona River to the South and the river Burahabalang to the north.
The goal of the OIMSEAS archaeologist’s excavation was to correlate the growth and development patterns of maritime activities along with an acute focus on the early cultural development in Northern Odisha.
The horizontal excavation was carried out over two acres of high land area, where there was a cultural deposit of about five meters. In the initial phase, scientific archaeological tunnelling was carried out in the selected trenches, which were roughly 2.6 meters.
Archaeologist and secretary of the OIMSEAS, Dr Sunil Kumar Patnaik informed that “While excavating, remnants of Chalcolithic bronze, Iron and Urban Culture were discovered.”
Perhaps the best part about this excavation is that archaeologists haven’t just found traces of one era, except, traces of three different cultural phases have been discovered at the site of excavation.
These three phases are
* The Chalcolithic Phase (2000 BCE – 1000 BCE)
* The Iron Age (1000 BCE – 400 BCE)
* The Early Historic Period (400 BCE – 200 BCE)
The OIMSEAS also gave a detailed account of all the findings and the particular time period they belonged to:
CHALCOLITHIC PERIOD (2000 BCE – 1000 BCE)
During this excavation, archaeologists found bases of circular huts- which is characteristic of the Chalcolithic Age. The floor of these circular huts was an amalgam of red soil and Ganguli. Several other things belonging to the Chalcolithic Age were also found- these included pottery with the colour red painted on black, red slipware, and other copperware belonging to 2000 BCE – 1000 BCE.
The base of the circular hut and the ancient utilitarian objects found are the indication of the lifestyle of people during this period. The majority of people during this time led a settled and domestic lifestyle with agriculture, animal farming and fishing being the major occupations.
THE IRON AGE (1000 BCE – 400 BCE)
There were several remains found that provided evidence for the existence of the Iron Age period. These include pottery remains of black burnished ware, black and redware, red polished fine blackware with slip and chocolate ware, terracotta sling balls, hopscotch along with iron objects like nails, arrowhead, crucible and slag of various kinds.
The lifestyle of this phase is markedly improved and it depended on agriculture and production of various other crops. People during this period also led a settled life. The use of iron is a landmark phase in the growth of civilization in Odisha, particularly in North Odisha.
EARLY HISTORIC PHASE (400 BCE – 100 BCE)
During this phase, fortification of the area started, which also led to the beginning of the King's rule. The remnants of pottery specimens of redware, red polished ware, black slipped ware, coarse grey ware, fine and superfine grey ware, terracotta ear studs, bangles, beads, hopscotch stopper, gamesman, terracotta wheels and some conical objects were found.
According to Dr Patnaik, “During this phase, people became more advanced and improved from an agricultural base to trade, construction of fortifications around the site with a moat which signify the emergence of urbanisation at Durgadevi from around 400 to 200 BCE,”
The archaeologists at OIMSEAS are trying to get an absolute date for the site through AUC, Inter-University Accelerator Centre, New Delhi. It is everyone’s hope that further excavation will not only bring new light on the development of society and culture of Balasore district but also the East Coast of India.