Archaeologists have dug up Neolithic stone tools dating back to nearly 5,000 years in Madhya Pradesh’s Anuppur district, throwing new light on a human settlement which is believed to have survived till the Gupta age in the 6th AD.
The archeological find is considered significant as the settlement is among the very few to have been excavated in the eastern part of a state where the sub-continent’s oldest human remains, named the Hathnora skull, was discovered in 1982.
Madhya Pradesh is also home to the World Heritage Site of Bhimbetka rock shelter which houses paintings drawn by earliest human beings dating back nearly 25,000 years.
Experts found the Anuppur remains at the banks of river Kewai – a tributary of Son – located around 650 km from capital Bhopal.
The excavations were carried out in the month of September and October by a team led by erstwhile deputy director (excavation) DK Mathur.
3 traditional soak-pits of Mauryan age found
“Anuppur is a success story pointing at evidence of pre-historic settlement. We would continue with such efforts in future,” said commissioner of archaeology, archives and museums, Ajatshatru, who uses only one name.
Apart from the typical Neolithic stone tools – small stones with chipped edges – the most interesting findings at the site were three traditional soak-pits (sewage disposal system) of Mauryan age (2nd and 3rd century BC).
“These traditional pits used very interesting technology of inverted earthen pots and rings to purify the sewage water before it flew into the river, thereby highlighting the great sense of environment protection among our ancestors,” Mathur told HT.
Human settlement existed in the area even 4000-5000 years ago
He said that discovery of Neolithic stone tools indicated that human settlement existed in the area even 4000-5000 years ago. Also large number of pottery pieces, stone jewellery, idols and statues, terracotta decorative pieces and toys, domestic utility items including stone grinding implements of different periods were found at the excavation site.
Mathur said that the initial survey of the area was conducted in 2014 and detailed project was presented to the state government.
“Following approval of ASI and sanction of funds from the government, we started the excavation in September, digging three trenches on the mound. We were delighted to find a huge cache of archaeological evidence,” he said.
Veteran archaeologist Narayan Vyas, an expert on the rock shelters, said the find in eastern MP was good news as not many such discoveries have been reported from that area although evidence of Neolithic culture were found at Datia in north MP and Vidisha in central MP.
“Further excavation and study could be taken up to find the link, especially with Neolithic civilisation of north-east India,” Vyas said.